Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – More people are using the internet in the Persian Gulf than ever before, a study commissioned by the Madar Center for Research concluded. In the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, the number of internet users increased from 513,000 in June 2003 to 1.8 million for the same period last year. This represents a 250-fold increase in two years.
In total, 5.24% of the population of GCC member states uses the internet. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates had the most users, with 12.9% of the population using the internet through DSL services.
Jamil Azro, director-general of an internet company in the GCC, told Asharq Al Awsat, “Broadband internet services are expensive across the Gulf and are not available to the public, in comparison to international prices and speed. This negatively affects the spread of the internet and information technology and hampers the establishment of an electronic government and a numerical society.”
Since 2003, the price of 256k internet connection fell from $108 dollars a month, on average, in GCC member states, to $76 dollars a month on average, last year. However, it remains significantly higher than the international average of $28 dollars a month.