Latin American Web access could double in a decade

Latin America is the world's fastest-growing market for Internet access, and could double within a decade, the group that oversees Internet-related tasks said Friday.

"I think this is the decade of our region in many ways," said Rodrigo de la Parra, regional vice president for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

"It is a region that without any doubt has more growth on a worldwide level," the Mexico native told AFP.

Internet market penetration is found in about 30 percent of Latin American households, compared with nearly 100 percent in developed countries.

De la Parra spoke during a five-day ICANN conference in Costa Rica that ended Friday. About 1,700 participants from 150 countries attended the conference.

The participants came from government and private organizations to discuss Internet use, access, new codes and security.

ICANN is a nongovernmental organization that polices Internet registrations and coordinates the Web's international resources, such as usernames and Internet addresses.

International awareness is helping to fuel the trend toward greater Internet access, said De la Parra, predicting economic growth would accompany rising Internet use in Latin America.

He expressed concern about promoting access in developing regions, particularly in Africa.

"Africa has a more acute problem than Latin America in all types of infrastructure, obviously telecommunications infrastructure and of course the Internet is included," De la Parra said.

ICANN's next conference is scheduled for June in Prague.

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