Beyond ‘www’: life without Internet exists

Photo: Beyond ‘www’: life without Internet exists / Turkmenistan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.22

By Viktoriya Zhavoronkova - Trend:

One can hardly argue that today's world becomes more and more dependent on Internet technologies. In our daily lives we turn to the world wide web for almost everything - transportation, food, education, work, even rest becomes virtual. One of the most popular Internet trends today is social media. People learned to share their opinions, photos, introduce their personality, report about important events by means of such networks as Facebook, Twitter and many others. Each country having its own social network trends.

Some experts even say that modern people lost their ability to create relationships in real life and that they lost real personalities behind artificially created internet images. You can even hear paraphrased expression "Give me internet or give me death". As an example, in Europe, according to the worldinternetstats.com as of 2012, 63.2 percent of population are internet users, in the U.S. this figure is 78.1, in Russia - 47.7 percent.

It is surprising, but not all the countries in the world are affected by this global growing tendency. One can ask a question, is it possible to be a rich and developed country without being so dependent on Internet? The answer is 'Yes'.

One such country is Turkmenistan, lying in the heart of Central Asia. Only 5 percent of people in Turkmenistan, the country with the world's fourth largest gas recourses, developed economy and well organized social services, are internet users. Some would say how lucky they are not to have become slaves to the Internet and its associated gadgets.

During the presidency of the former leader Saparmurat Niyazov, better known as Turkmenbashi, according to several sources, the Internet was grossly underdeveloped. Internet usage was estimated to be under 5 percent. Following the election of current President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Internet started to intensively develop in the country - and everything being relative - usage is now hovering around the five percent mark.

In one of his speeches he even said that this modern technology has to be available for every citizen.

After this, in February, 2007, two up-to-date Internet cafes were opened in the country's capital, Ashgabat. There is no official data on how many such cafes are functioning today.

"Internet cafes in Turkmenistan are still not very popular now, there are about ten such clubs in Ashgabat, and local resident as well as foreigners need to show identity papers before using a computer,"said a Turkmen citizen who asked to be named.

He said that local people prefer to use Russian social networks, such as "V kontakte", "Odnoklassniki" and others and added that popular global networks - Facebook, Twitter, Whatsup and extremely popular resource - Youtube are blocked in the country.

A resident of Ashgabat reached by phone by Trend said that WI-FI networks are available in the country's largest hotels, though the price for mobile Internet in the country is rather expansive - major local mobile operator TM Cell offers 1 GB for about $25.

The statistics on Internet usage in Turkmenistan are as follows: with a population of about five million people in 2012 the country counted some 252, 742 Internet users, having grown from 2,000 users in 2000. Perhaps one of the reasons the Internet is not as popular in Turkmenistan as in other countries in the region is due to the fact that they are big on national traditions, including wearing national clothes and highly respect national holidays. So life without the Internet can exist!

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