ITU survey: Measuring the Information Society 2014
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been publishing the ‘Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report for six years in a row. This annual publication provides essential information about ICT development and studies in the field of costs and affordability of ICT services, measured in accordance with internationally agreed methodologies. The latest edition of the survey is the ‘Measuring the Information Society 2014’.
Data from recent benchmark studies of Curaçao, ‘Benchmark Telecommunication, Broadband and Television Indicators EOY 2014’ are not included in the MIS report because at the ITU, Curaçao is registered as a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, rather than separately. However, there are talks underway to establish separate registration of Curaçao at the ITU.
An important aspect of this MIS report is the ‘ICT Development Index’ (IDI), which ranks the performance of countries across the world, based on ICT infrastructure, ICT usage and ICT skills. The MIS report is geared towards providing an objective performance assessment of countries based on quantitative indicators and benchmarks that play a key role in the ICT policy discussions of ITU member states.
The past few years were characterized by a visible worldwide growth in the application and use of ICT. The report shows that the number of internet users grew from 2.7 billion at the end of 2013, to 3 billion at the end of 2014. Apart from this, the market for mobile broadband continuously shows double growth figures in 2014 and an estimated global penetration of 32% (4 times as much as 5 years ago in 2009), a significantly faster growth in relation to the development of the market of mobile telephone subscriptions, which shows slower growth.
The international bandwidth has steadily grown with an average of 45% per year between 2001 and 2013 and the share of developing countries in international bandwidth has increased from 9% in 2004 to almost 30% in 2013. All in all, virtually all 166 nations involved in the ‘ICT Development Index’ of the MIS have enjoyed a positive development in the past year.
Despite the positive developments, the investigation shows that there still is a significant digital gap. This becomes apparent from the following facts, among other things:
- 4.3 billion people, 90% of which are living in a developing country, have no connection to the internet;
- The fixed broadband penetration has come to a standstill at 6% compared to 27.5 % in developed countries;
- Mobile broadband in general shows quick growth, but this is not the case everywhere. A comparison between developing countries and developed countries shows that the measured mobile broadband penetration in developed countries is 84% against 21% in developing countries.
Based on these results, it is recommended in the study that in the coming years, the policy should focus on an increase of the use of ICT by countries that are least connected to the internet and have a limited development of ICT infrastructure. Expressed in number of persons, this concerns 2.5 billion individuals. In these countries, the share of people in rural areas is rather large, enhancing the gap between urban and rural areas.
The MIS-rapport 2014 shows that countries where a large share of the population lives in urban areas, perform better in the field of ICT due to superior ICT infrastructure, ICT usage and ICT skills, whereas particularly in the poor rural areas ICT may have beneficial effect.
The MIS-rapport 2014 elaborates on the following topics:
- Developments in the information society
- The ‘ICT Development Index’(IDI)
- The regional IDI analysis
- ICT-prices and the role of competition
- The role played by sizable data for ICT monitoring and development
Download the ‘Measuring the Information Society 2014’ for a detailed elaboration of the study.