Worldwide, 592 million people had Internet access in 2002, though the annual rate of growth dropped to 20% from 27% in 2001, according to the yearly “E-Commerce and Development Report,” issued Thursday by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 2002, there was 12% growth in Internet users in developed countries, to 401.7 million users. That compares to an almost 40 percent jump for developing countries to 189.9 million Internet users. Despite the jump, slightly less than 10% of the world’s population had access to the Internet by the end of 2002, the report said.
Internet hosts are also more concentrated in the developed world, with North America and Europe accounting for 89 percent of all Internet hosts.