By Andy Sambidge
Euromonitor Int'l report says 44% of households connected for broadband in Gulf state.
Broadband penetration in Qatar is the best in the Gulf region with 44 percent of households covered, Euromonitor International said on Monday.
In a new country briefing report, it said the Gulf state's fixed line market's growth was being driven by internet usage.
The study said 44.5 percent of Qatari households possessed a broadband-enabled computer by the end of 2009, up from just under seven percent in 2004.
Qatar was well ahead of its Gulf neighbours on broadband penetration in 2009, the report added, with Kuwait and Bahrain on 26 percent, the UAE on 18 percent and Saudi Arabia (8 percent).
Qatar has also seen a significant growth in telephone lines over the past five years, rising from 191,000 in 2004 to 274,600 last year.
Euromonitor International also said Facebook was the fourth most popular website in Qatar, with 160,000 active users in August, according to data supplied by the social networking website.
This represented more than 37 percent of Qatar's total internet users, the report added.
By comparison, about 20 percent of Kuwaiti and UAE internet users were Facebook users in 2009.
"The position of Twitter among the 100 most visited websites in Qatar suggests a growing interest for micro-blogging activities over traditional blogging," Euromonitor International said.
It added: "However, internet usage in Qatar is generally hindered by the lack of Arabic content, as well as censorship."
Internet is way overpriced for poor internet speed thanks to the Qtel Monopoly here. I pay 300 QAR for an internet connection that can't even stream a YouTube video. Like most things here, there is no value for money.