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It Will Take 10 Years or More Before Half of Brazil Gets Hooked to the Internet

Despite the fact that every four months one million new Brazilians get access to the Internet only 2,430 Brazilian municipalities (43.7%) from a total of 5,561 can count on Internet services, today.

Broadband is available in 1,606 cities or a mere 28.9% of all Brazilian cities. As for cell phones, 2.440 cities or 43.9% of all Brazilian municipalities don’t have them.

These numbers have been presented earlier this month in Florianópolis, capital of the southern state of Santa Catarina, during the annual meeting of the SBPC (Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência – Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science).

According to IBGE’s (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatí­stica – Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) data for 2004, 12.2% of Brazilian homes have a computer with Internet connection. This translates to 6.3 million residences or 21.6 million people.

Data more recent from pollster IBOPE indicate that 13.5 million Brazilians accessed the Internet from their homes between July and September, 2005. IBOPE estimated that 32.1 million people are able to use the Internet in Brazil from home, workplace or any other public or private space.

The ITU, International Communication Union, in 2004, put Brazil in 10th place in the world for the number of Internet users, with 22 million people or 12.2% of its population able to access the Internet. Compare this to 62.3% of the US population or 65.7% of South Koreans.

Internet World Stats on March 2006, listed Brazil as having 25,900,000 Internet users, meaning that 14.1% of the population have Internet. This represents a 418% growth in Internet access since 2000.
 
Brasí­lia, Brazil’s capital, leads in number of residences connected to the Internet. While 31% of the Federal District’s homes are plugged the same happens to 27% of the residences in São Paulo, 23% in Curitiba (Paraná state) and 21% in Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul).

While São Paulo is in the Southeast the last two capital cities are in Brazilian south. In the northeastern region of Brazil, Salvador, Bahia, with 18% of homes connected, comes in first.

While 87% of the wealthy (A-class) are plugged to the Internet and 58% of the higher middle class (B-class) are too, only 22% of the Brazilian C-class (middle class) have access to the Net. As for the poorer Brazilians, the so-called D- and E-class, a mere 7% know how to use a browser.

When we take income into consideration, 53.4% of those who earn 1801 reais (US$ 828) a month or more are connected to the Net. Among those earning 1001 to 1800 reais (US$ 460 to US$ 827) 23% surf the Internet.

The access however decreases for those making between 501 and 1000 reais (US$ 230 to US$ 459). Finally, only 3% of those Brazilian who earn less than 500 reais are able to navigate the Internet waters.

"There are technological, educational, cultural-social and economic barriers that prevent access and interaction," says Lúcia Melo, president of the CGEE (Centro de Gestão e Estudos Estratégicos – Center of Management and Strategic Studies) linked to Brazil’s Science and Technology Ministry.

The CGEE has finished the first phase of a study in which are analyzed the perspectives for Information Technology in Brazil. The study wants to know how the country will be in 2015 and 2022 in relation to IT.

The Industry Map for the 2007-2015 period envisions that in 2010 25% of Brazilians will have Internet at home and that by 2015, the Net will be available to 30% of Brazilian residences.

A more upbeat forecast made by Projeto Brazil in 3 Tempos (Brazil Project in Three Periods) sees the Internet getting into 21% of the homes in 2007, 50% in 2015 and 70% in 2022.

While still limited among the population in general the Internet has been universally integrated into the Brazilian companies. Firms with more than 1,000 workers are 100% online. Even companies with 10 to 19 workers 95% of the time are connected to the Net.

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