In Venezuela, a nation with a population of about 27 million people,there are currently 9.7 million Internet users and 28.2 million mobile phone lines. In the last year, Venezuelans have also outranked nations worldwide in the use of social network sonline, such as Twitter.
According to Venezuela’s Telecommunications commission, CONATEL, a third of the population is actively using Internet and more than 95% have mobile phone lines. Internet service in Venezuela rose by 43.16% this year, reaching over 9.7 users nationwide. Thirty-four out of every 100 Venezuelan citizens are currently using Internet vía DSL, Cable or wireless connections.
CONATEL also reported that during the last year, 326,000 new mobile phone lines have been added for a total of 28.2 million active cell phone connections nationwide. Ninety-five out of every 100 Venezuelans have cellular phones.
Venezuela also ranks third globally in terms of how many Internet users sign on to Twitter, after Indonesia and Brazil. In Venezuela’s case, the number of Twitter users has increased since President Hugo Chavez joined the network in April.
ComScore, a firm measuring Internet traffic, released a report on Twitter’s global penetration as of June 2010. Indonesia was the country with the highest penetration index, with 20.8% of Internet users connected to Twitter, followed by Brazil with 20.5%, and Venezuela at 19%.
The report published by ComScore noted the fact that the Venezuelan President had decided to join Twitter in April 2010 helped lead to a 4.8% increase in the use of the social network. President Chavez’s Twitter account has over 750,000 followers.
About 2,000 followers join @chavezcandanga daily. “Social networks are a tool that also have to be used by the Revolution”, said President Chavez recently in his weekly TV and radio show Alo Presidente.
Besides Brazil and Venezuela, other Latin American countries that register a high Twitter penetration index amongst Internet users are Mexico (13.4%), Chile (13.2%), Argentina (10.5%), and Colombia (9.6%). All of those are also among the 20 countries where the use of Twitter has grown the fastest.
President Chavez launched his Twitter account in April, and by June managed to break records in Venezuela by gaining over 500,000 followers. “There are a lot of presidents who use Twitter, but the case of Venezuela is unusual”, said Dom Sagolla, co-creator of Twitter, during a summit last month in Costa Rica.
In Venezuela the use of Internet is a matter of national interest. Infocenters, community spaces equipped with computers connected to the Internet where users are allowed to access information technology for free, are one of the achievements of the Venezuelan government.
By March 2010, 668 Infocenters had been created throughout the country, with more planned for the remainder of 2010.