The number of Internet users in Europe will swell from 8.9 million at the end of 1996, to 35 million by the year 2000, but a lack of hardware in homes may slow down the mass Internet market, according to an International Data report.
The corporate sector looks rosier than the home market, with a number of IT and telecommunications managers planning to move wide area network traffic to the Internet, according to the report, "The Emerging European Internet Access Market".
Currently most European businesses and individuals access the Internet via dial-up connections, but IDC expects medium and large companies to shift to ISDN or dedicated Internet connections by 2000.
In the mass European market Internet service providers' main challenge is to get hardware into the homes, now that connection prices are beginning to fall, the report says.
IDC expects Internet use to drop from now until early 1997 as users weary of searching on a congested Web. Improvements in tools for navigating the Web and conducting commerce will lure users back, the report says.
The Germans are Europe's heaviest Internet users and account for 30% of Internet access in 1996. The UK comes in second, followed by the Netherlands and Sweden.
IDC's World Wide Web site can be viewed at: http://www.idcresearch.com