Singapore Internet penetration

[07 Sep 2008]

According to Internetworldstats.com. Singapore had 2,700,000 Internet users as of Mar 08, representing 58.6% penetration.

Such stats leave me wondering quite what they mean. What is an “Internet user”? Should it be restricted to a “WWW user”? There are lots of kids who use the Web at school but may not have a computer (and/or an Internet connection) at home. Do they count as “users”?

And how about the huge numbers of Internet-enabled 2.5G and 3G mobile phone users in Singapore? According to Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), there were 2,136,900 3G subscribers as of the 2nd quarter 2008. (It also staggers me that mobile phone penetration is around 130%.)

The stats also left me wondering about that 56.8% penetration rate. Surely it should be higher than that?

The IDA numbers seem to be more realistic than those from Internetworldstats. According to IDA, there were 989,600 domestic broadband subscribers and 111,000 corporate subscribers as of 31 Mar 08. The figures indicate that household broadband penetration was 86.8%. That makes a lot more sense to me. Considering there would be a small number still using dial-up, and all those mobile phones, it means Singapore is getting very close to full connectivity.

Singapore is in the process of rolling out free wi-fi for everyone. This is part of the iN2015 (Intelligent Nation 2015) initiative.

This country is amazing. When they realize something is worth doing, they will pour huge resources into it. Meanwhile, Australia has finally called tenders for its broadband network.

Interestingly, Asia has the largest number of Internet users (over 1/2 billion) but its penetration rate is below world average (at 15% – average is 22%). Just think of the growth opportunities in China and how much that is going to change that society.

For some background information, Singapore’s population is 4,608,167 and has a per capita gross national product of US$24,220 (2004) [information from World Bank].

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