(MENAFN) The Internet World Stats report showed that Internet users in the Middle East increased at the rate of 479.3 percent over the past six years whereas by the end of 2006 there were 19 million internet users representing 1.8 percent of the total users worldwide, which reached a billion during the same period, Khaleej Times reported.
According to the report, the UAE registered the highest number of internet users in 2006 in the Middle East where access percentage was 36.1 percent of the total population. The number of internet users in the UAE is estimated at 1.4 million persons, constituting 7.3 percent of the internet users in the region.
However, the report showed that the use of communication and information technology in the Arab region still lags behind, whereby landlines, cell phones and the internet are in use at the rate of 10.24 percent and 8 percent respectively.
According to the Digital Access Index (DAI), the decline in the use of information technology in the Arab countries, especially in the Gulf region could be attributed to the lack of technology awareness rather than deficiency of technological infrastructure.
The UAE bagged the ninth position among countries with the highest access to communication and information technology, followed by Qatar which ranked twenty-third and Kuwait in the thirty-fifth position.
Among countries of declining access Syria came third, Yemen was placed in the sixteenth position followed by Mauritania thirty-forth and Sudan thirty-eighth while Iraq and Somalia were not included in the list.