Today, the Internet is deemed vital to the development of any community. Although a large part of the world has access to the Internet especially in developed countries, there are still parts of the world that do not have access to the Internet and, therefore, the World Wide Web. This is particularly true in the least developed countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In Africa, only 6.7% of its population has access to the Internet. In Asia, only 18.5% of the population knows how to use the Internet. Usage of the Internet in Latin America and the Middle East is 30% and 23.7% of the population, respectively. These geographic areas present opportunities for Internet client services providers to offer their products and services.
Specifically, here are some target markets for Internet client services providers:
- Urban areas with a large number of schools
- Centers of trade and commerce
- Business districts
- Cities and municipalities with large populations
With free trade laws and charters currently in effect, it would be easy to start service in these areas. Even the most basic of Internet client services would be most welcome in communities with no access to the Internet. Here are some of the basic features of Internet Client Services that can be provided to people living in these areas:
- The Web. Access to the web is provided through the use of web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera and Lynx. These web browsers are able to interpret and display HTML documents as well support scripting, Java, plug-ins, and cookies.
- Email. This can be accessed through the web or through the use of such email programs as the Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Pegasus, Eudora and Pine.
- Newsgroups. Public servers carry limited number of newsgroups. There are also online editions.
- File Transfer Protocol. This is the simplest way of exchanging files between computers and most operating systems, including Windows and MS-DOS, have this.
- Chat. This is a means of real time communication. Although some chat applications require the user to install programs in their computers (e.g. Yahoo Messenger), some are web-based like Meebo.
- Remote Access. This feature allows a computer to access another computer over a phone line. This is especially important in providing technical support or remote service to a computer.
Meanwhile, providers of Internet client services need to assign an Internet specialist to oversee the implementation of the project and give orientation to the local community. After all, there are still people who are resistant to anything new. Having a specialist around to explain the concept of client Internet, netware, and other related issues would go a long ways towards ensuring the success of the project. In addition, the specialist should also set up remote technical support for Internet clients in case there aren't any local people who can offer solutions to technical problems that might occur. In sum, there are still regions in the world that require Internet client services. Companies specializing in these areas would do well to invest their money there.