15% of Russians will use Internet by 2005

The number of internet users in Russia will grow from 6% of the population in 2003 to 15% in 2005, according to First Deputy Minister for Communications and IT Andrei Korotkov. The deputy minister made this prediction at a press conference today. He said that over 11 million people currently use the internet regularly in Russia. Around 9 million people own a personal computer.

Korotkov believes that in order for the internet to become truly popular, the number of public access points to the world-wide web needs to be increased. He added that the Communications Ministry is paying a great deal of attention to this issue. Korotkov said that the ministry plans to increase the number of post offices with internet access to 7,000 by the end of 2003, which is almost double the current number. 6.8 billion roubles (USD 220 million) have been allocated by the 2004 budget for this aim, which is 4.5 times more than in 2003.

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