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500 million Web users by 2005

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The Internet is in danger of grinding to a halt creating a chronic shortage of capacity in the US. And if plans to build more fibre links across the Atlantic fall behind schedule it could even threaten the development of the Net worldwide, according to a report published by analysts Ovum. Between now and 2002 traffic will outstrip available capacity putting even more pressure on the Net, said Daniel Bieler, one of the authors of Internet Market Forecasts: Global Internet Growth 1998 - 2005. "I don't think it will lead to a total collapse," said Bieler. "But I do think it'll be a bit of a tight squeeze." "What's more damaging is that it could hamper the uptake of broadband multimedia applications simply because the Net could become extremely slow." Despite the threat of a slowdown in Net performance, Bieler predicts that there will be 500 million Net users worldwide by 2005. According to his research, he believes that by 2002, the US market will have become saturated, although the Far East and Western Europe will continue to grow. ®

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