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Sweden tops in worldwide Internet usage: Report

Internet users in the Asia Pacific area make up 32% of the global Net population, compared to 32% for Europe and 27% for America.

tech reviews Updated: Jul 03, 2003 17:25 IST

Japan's broadband use has grown rapidly over the last year as Internet proliferation nears half of the nation's households, according to a report released on Tuesday. Of the households with Internet access, 39 per cent have the faster broadband links, up from 18.5 per cent a year ago, the annual survey by Impress Corp, a Tokyo publishing and Internet company, said.

A total of 15.9 million people used broadband from their homes, up from 5.8 million a year ago, the report said.

The overall number of Internet users, including people using Internet-linked mobile phone services, totalled 56.5 million, or about 44 per cent of the nation's population, up from 46.2 million a year ago.

The study expects Japanese Internet users will exceed 60 million by the end of the year. An estimated 48 per cent of the nation's households use the Internet, the report said.

By region, Internet users in the Asian Pacific area make up 32 per cent of the global Internet population, compared to 32 per cent for Europe and 27 per cent for North America, it said. Among nations, Internet proliferation is highest in Sweden at 69 per cent, and the United States is sixth with nearly 59 per cent, while Japan is 21st at 44 per cent, it said.

In recent years, Tokyo Internet and broadband company Softbank Corp and leading telecommunications company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone have offered reasonably priced broadband access in Japan, boosting its popularity.

"Japan has become a broadband empire," said Toru Takahashi, an official at the Internet Association, a non-profit organization that helped compile the report. "It's becoming clear that Japan's broadband can lead the world."

The survey was carried out by telephone in February from a random nationwide sample of 99,800 households. Responding households totaled 41,500. The report did not disclose a margin of error. During the late 1990s, most Internet users in Japan logged on with cellphones, reflecting the popularity of "i-mode," an Internet-linked service from the nation's top mobile carrier. But those using the Internet only through cell phones totalled 7 million this year, just 12 per cent of Japan's Internet population, as more people use the Internet at home, offices and schools. Although Tuesday's report did not give a separate number for South Korea, about 70 per cent of South Korean households are estimated to have broadband.