Increasingly Ticos are getting hooked up to Web

Although President Laura Chinchilla has embarked on a bold plan to put Internet access and computers to use it all over the country, the government’s service provide reported Thursday that 56 percent of the population use the Web and that 370,000 homes have connections.

The estimates are the results of a survey by CID Gallup commissioned by Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., the government Internet provider. The survey estimated Internet users at 2.4 million.

The results are consisted with what President Chinchilla said, that four out of 10 persons do not have Internet access. But Radiográfica, known as RACSA, said that individuals in 130,000 homes expressed the intention of purchasing a computer in the next six months. Even now, the country has the highest Internet penetration of nations in Central America, said RACSA, citing another source.

All homes with computers are not connected to the Internet, the survey confirmed. Some 53 percent of Costa Rican homes have computers but about 61,000 have no Internet connection.

The percentage of Internet users has climbed slowly from the 20 percent in 2004, the company said. When A.M. Costa Rica was founded 10 years ago, Internet penetration here was very low. But the company prospered because the percentage of expats with computers was very high.

The RACSA study concluded that a million persons access the Internet from their homes. The average time of use is about three hours, the company said. Getting the highest use is email, chats, academic research, music and videos. Facebook is the No. 1 place Costa Ricans go, according to Alexa, the Amazon company that tracks Web use. About 19 per cent of the population, some 500,000, are on the social networks, and about 185,000 visit their favorites each day, said the survey.

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