Internet Alive and Well in Russia

This Pravda article is a bit ridiculous. It claims that because 88% of all Russians have never used the Internet that therefore Russians are not interested in it.

First of all, it completely ignores the fact that Internet access in Russia is nowhere near as available as it is in a more developed nation. And for those cities that do have reliable dial-up Internet access, the cost ranges from about $.50 to $1.20 an hour — mostly bought in 30 or 60 hour phone cards that have unique numbers that you must authenticate with the provider before use.

Considering that the average Russian makes about $100/month in income, using the Internet just 10 hours a week would equate to them spending a full 40% of their income just for Internet access. For an American earning an average $2500/month, this would equal spending $1000/month — or $25/hour.

No matter how you do the math, it is clear that the cost of Internet access, even dial-up access, is much more prohibitive in Russia than in the United States – not to mention the additional cost of owning a computer, something most Russian families would have to save for years to be able to afford.

Lastly, I am in regular communication with some of my Russian friends — all of who use it at least on a daily basis. If asked I am sure that most of them would laugh at this survey’s results but would acknowledge that much of the older generation do not understand the draw and fascination of the Internet, which in hindsight isn’t all that different from the trends we see in the United States.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at July 9, 2003 07:12 PM

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