INTERNET ACCCESS AND USAGE ON THE INCREASE IN MOROCCO
According the third annual edition of a national survey organised by Morocco’s National Telecommunication Agency, the ANRT, Internet access and usage is on the increase with a heavy take-up of ADSL.
Internet access penetration in the home was low in 2004: only 120,000 homes were estimated to have an Internet connection, in other words, a penetration rate of 0.4% for the population as a whole. The corresponding rate rose to 0.8% in 2005 (4.3% of households) with an estimated 240,000 lines (all access speeds combined). In 2006, the number of lines stood at 390,000 (more precisely at the time of the survey in March 2007) i.e. 7% of households (or 1.3% of the total population). It should be noted that 62% of households claiming to own at least one computer in 2006 also claimed to Internet access at home.
Already observed over the last two years, the heavy penetration of ADSL access was again confirmed in 2006, when it accounted for 89% of access in the home, corresponding to 350,000 households, or 1.2% of the total population of Morocco (compared with 220,000 in 2005 and 60,000 in 2004).
In the coming twelve months, close to 28% of households which are still not equipped have plans to obtain an internet connection at home, which represents a potential of one million additional connections, should their plans be made concrete.
Socio-economic status remains an undeniable contributor to a household’s potential connection to the Web. Nonetheless, a certain “democratisation” compared with 2004 can be observed: whereas the most privileged SES accounted for over 80% of residential internet connections that year, they accounted for only 66% of connection in 2006.
By its very essence, the notion of “Internaut”, Internet user, is difficult to pinpoint precisely. The survey nevertheless established the following two definitions:
A level 1 Internet user is an individual who has accessed the Internet at least once in the past month, regardless of location and the access mode used.
A level 2 Internet user is an individual who has accessed the Internet at least once in the past twelve months, regardless of location and the access mode used.
Having risen substantially from one year to the next, the number of Internet users (level 1&2) stood at around 6.1 million in 2006, compared with 4.6 million in 2005 (i.e. an increase of over 30% in relation to 2004). The figure serves as a proof of the Internet boom in Morocco and, more specifically, of the growth recorded in the ADSL sector.
In 2004, 96% of individuals with an Internet connection (all locations combined), used the web to perform searches, compared with 91% in 2005 and 92.5% in 2006: entertainment and use of the different messaging applications (IM and e-mail) are among the other uses expressed by respondents.
Cost is one of the chief obstacles to accessing the Web: given 53.3% in 2006, compared with only 41.3% in 2005.
There are few households that practice online buying and only a small percentage of these express any wish to do so in the coming twelve months: Among those with Internet access at home/outside the home, 96% have not made online purchases during the past twelve months. In 2006, households expressing a wish to make online purchases accounted for only 8% of individuals with Internet access at home/outside the home.