The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of United Nations (UN) is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies (ICT) and assists in the development and coördination of worldwide technical standards. According to new data from the 2013 edition of ‘’Measuring the Information Society’’, demand for information and communication technology (ICT) products and services was enormously high in 2012-13. Korea was leading in terms of overall ICT development for the third consecutive year and declared as world’s most advanced economy in information and communication technologies.
ICT development index (IDI)
- ICT Trends: By end of 2013, there will be 6.8 billion total mobile-cellular subscriptions – almost equal to total population of planet; China and India both would account for 1 billion each of mobile-cellular subscriptions. An estimated 2.7 billion people will also be connected to the Internet as mobile broadband connections over 3G and 3G+ networks are growing cheaper. Interestingly, 50% of people are now within the reach of 3G network.
- IDI top ten: Republic of Korea leads with IDI index value of 8.57 closely followed by Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. South Korea has made ICT development a policy priority and integrated its use in many aspects of society as a result of this, Korea has highest percentage of households connected to the Internet at 67%, while both mobile broadband and fixed broadband penetration rates were at 84%. India was ranked at 121 position with IDI index of 2.21, being one of 39 LCC (least connected countries).
Cost and Affordability of Broadband
- Analysis of ‘Trends in Broadband Pricing’ in 152 countries reveals that ‘fixed-broadband prices fell by 82 per cent overall’ in last 4 years. The biggest drop occurred in developing countries, where fixed-broadband prices fell by 30 per cent year on year between 2008 and 2011.The average price per unit of speed (Mbps) also decreased significantly between 2008-12.
- Austria has the world’s most affordable mobile broadband, while Sao Tomé and Principe, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have the least affordable, with service cost equal to or higher than average monthly gross national income per capita.
For mobile broadband to replicate the success of cellular mobile, 3G network coverage has to be extended and prices have to go down even further. Broadband is recognized as a critical infrastructure for a country’s social and economic development. Low income countries should work hard in lowering the broadband rates to make it affordable for common man. Mobile broadband is more affordable than In developing countries.
Measuring the world’s Digital natives
Youth aged 15-24 years with five or more years of online experience comprise the digital native population. In 2012, there were around 363 million digital natives out of a world population of around 7 billion. This equates to 30% of global youth population. This was first-ever global measurement of the number of digital natives. There are about 145 million young internet users in developed countries, out of which 86.3% are digital natives. Young people are almost twice as networked as the global population as a whole, with the age gap more pronounced in the developing world.
China tops in list with 75 million digital natives, followed by 41 million and 23 million in the U.S and India, respectively. Although India has 3rd highest number of digital natives, when compared to its total population, % of digital native is very low.
Digital TV broadcasting trends
Globally, there were an estimated 1.4 billion households with at least one TV set by end of 2012. In the developed countries, almost all households had a TV by 2008, while in developing countries 69 per cent of households had a TV. Between 2008 and 2012, most growth took place in the developing world, with the addition of 87 million more households with a TV.
Still there is a lot of scope for growth as nearly 350 million households are without TV in developing countries. In under developed countries of Africa, only 1/3rd of households have TV. Also with advent of digital TV, analogue TV are comparatively less in demand. Nearly 55% of households with TV use digital TV and rest 45% prefer analogue.
What Next ?
Majority of countries consider ITU report as more closer to real scenario prevailing and figures and stats are used by governments for planning development measures. According to current report, developing countries are growing at faster rate in all 4 sectors discussed above and will soon join in race with developed nations. Quick and effective measures need to be taken by under-developed nations to boost growth. Broadband usage, both fixed and mobile must be availed at lower price, as internet connectivity is a vast mosaic of economic activity, ranging from millions of daily online transactions and communications to smart phone downloads of TV shows. With emergence of smart phones and other mobile accessories at cheaper rate, most of developing countries are leaping ahead and getting connected to the outside world.