Digital economy fact book

Between 1999 and 2000, the digital economy experienced its share of "growing pains": the accounting problems at MicroStrategy, the antitrust conviction of Microsoft, Doubleclick's run-in with public opinion, the "" sector's run-in with investors, unfulfilled fears of a Y2K meltdown, the unexpected "I LOVE YOU" virus, and the NASDAQ market correction in the spring of 2000. Despite these setbacks, the digital economy is not only alive and well, but also growing.

  • Between January 1999 and January 2000, the number of computers on the Internet increased by 68 percent – even faster than the 46 percent growth the previous year.

  • The number of Internet users worldwide grew from 276 million to 375 million. In some countries (including China) the number of users is doubling annually.

  • Worldwide wireless telephone subscribership grew by 52 percent per year throughout the 1990s – and appears to be accelerating.

  • The number of residential broadband (i.e. cable modem and DSL) subscribers in the U.S. doubled in 1999 and when the figures are in for 2000 should show another doubling.

  • In 2000, the number of Americans shopping online was expected to increase 35 percent, to 39 million.

    By these measures and many more, the vital signs of the digital economy are strong. It may be experiencing "growing pains" – but the key word is still growing.

    Source: Jeffrey Eisenach, Thomas Lenard, Stephen McGonegal, The Digital Economy Fact Book, Second Edition, 2000. The Progress & Freedom Foundation, 1301 K St., NW, Suite 550 East, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 289-8928.

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