Finland leads world in Internet penetration

With 24 people per Internet host, Finland tops the world in points of access to the Internet, according to a study by Killen & Associates. New Zealand has 63 people per host, the researchers say, with a total of 53,610 hosts, placing it fourth, behind Australia and Sweden (59 per host).

The research and consulting firm used existing data provided on the World Wide Web by 13 Internet organisations, including index providers Yahoo and Digital, as well as independent analysis done via the Web to develop a snapshot of the Internet scene in early 1996.

Thirty million users are currently connected to the Internet, according to the company. Worldwide, net access is provided by 9.5 million hosts, which Killen & Associates defines as an individual machines continuously connected to the Internet.

Internet penetration differs dramatically around the globe, from India's 1.2 million people per host to Finland's 24, according to the company.

Asia is adding hosts faster than any other region, but it also has the farthest to travel, says Jules Street, vice-president of the Palo Alto, California-based company. "We still have major growth in the US and Western Europe."

The number of hosts will grow ten fold in next five years, reaching close to 95 million hosts by 2000, Street says.

Fifty-five percent of the hosts are "transnational", meaning they use insitutional suffixes such as .edu, .com and .org, according to Street. The rest use the geographic suffix, such as ma for Morocco and se for Sweden, Street says. Especially outside the US, the "majority do use the nomenclature of their country," he says.

Killen & Associates can be reached via the Web at http://www.killen.com/.

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