Global Industry Overview: Internet Services
The Internet services industry includes Internet service providers (ISPs), backbone network operators, World Wide Web navigation services, Internet security services, and Internet or electronic commerce (e-commerce) providers. Internet service providers may also offer Internet hosting and programming services, e-mail and messaging services, and Web site design services. Companies that use the Internet to promote sales, such as automobile manufacturers allowing customers to price cars online, are not considered part of the industry. (See also Information Technology Services and Packaged Software.)
The Internet has been the fastest-growing communications technology in history, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Radio was available for 38 years before gaining 50 million listeners, and television was available for 13 years before gaining that many viewers. However, the Internet reached the 50-million-user mark in only four years. By the end of 1997, more than 102 million people were using the Internet. By the end of 2003, there were 700 million Internet users worldwide. This number was expected to reach 945 million by the end of 2004 and exceed 1 billion by 2007.