MOSCOW, October 17 (Itar-Tass) - In 2018, the amount of Internet users in Russia is expected to reach 83% of the country’s population, spokeswoman for the Public Opinion Foundation Svetlana Borisova said on Thursday in the framework of the Russian Internet Week.
“This will be achieved if all the plans to ensure wide access to the Internet are implemented, mobile appliances are not too expensive and no sky-rocketing tariffs charged for Internet services which should be approximately equal all over Russia,” the spokeswoman said. This applies to cities with a population from 100,000 to a million people, she added.
According to the most optimistic scenario, in cities with a population under 100,000 the number of Internet users will reach 80% by 2018, and in rural areas they might make up 69%, the spokeswoman said.
If the stipulated conditions are not observed, then the most conservative forecast says that in five years' time the RuNet audiences in Russia will reach 78% in big cities, in small towns – 72%, and in rural areas – 64%, the spokeswoman said.
At present, the Public Opinion Foundation has estimated the number of the Internet audiences at 57% of the overall population. Only eleven percent of current Internet users usually spend much time on the Internet against 35% of such Internet users last year, the spokeswoman said. But, the number of the Internet visitors who said that their life would have considerably changed without the Internet is 74% now or 13% up last year's estimates.
A total of 37% of Internet users in Russia use the web for education; around 40% use it to make online statements on political issues, and 28% contribute money to the Internet social projects.
"We expect the participation of the population in civic projects on the Internet to grow," Borisova said.