Measuring the Information Society 2011

Title: Measuring the Information Society 2011
Pages: 174 pp.
ISBN: 92-61-13801-2
Publisher: International Telecommunication Union
Date (published): 15/09/2011
Date (accessed): 16/09/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, excluding Annex 5, which includes the tariff data)
"The latest edition of Measuring the Information Society features ITU's two key benchmarking tools to measure the Information Society: the ICT Development Index (IDI) and the ICT Price Basket (IPB). The IDI captures the level of ICT developments in 152 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the past two years. The IPB combines fixed telephone, mobile cellular and fixed broadband Internet tariffs for 165 economies into one measure and compares these across countries, and over time. The report also presents the latest global market trends, takes a closer look at broadband and analyses the digital divide among Internet users. The analytical report is complemented by a series of statistical tables providing country-level data for the indicators included in the two indices.

The IDI combines 11 indicators into a single measure that can be used as a benchmarking tool globally, regionally, and at national level, as well as helping track progress in ICT development over time. It measures ICT access, use and skills, and includes such indicators as mobile cellular subscriptions, households with a computer, fixed and mobile broadband Internet subscriptions, and basic literacy rates. For the first time this year, the IDI’s ‘ICT use’ sub-index grew more than the ‘ICT access’ sub-index, reflecting the fact that many countries have reached saturation levels in terms of basic ICT infrastructure and are becoming active ICT users.

Geneva, 15 September 2011 - New figures released today by ITU show that information and communication technology (ICT) uptake continues to accelerate worldwide, spurred by a steady fall in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services.

The new data, released in ITU’s flagship annual ICT report ‘Measuring the Information Society 2011’, rank the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland.

A key feature of the report is the ICT Development Index (IDI)*, which ranks 152 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2008 and 2010 scores. Most countries at the top of the ranking are from Europe and Asia Pacific. The United Arab Emirates and Russia rank first within their respective regions and Uruguay ranks highest in South America. Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Viet Nam, and Russia were some of the most dynamic countries between 2008 and 2010, with all of them making substantial improvements in their IDI ranks.

All countries included in the IDI improved their scores this year, underlining the increasing pervasiveness of ICTs in today’s global information society. “While the IDI leaders are all from the developed world, it is extremely encouraging to see that the most dynamic performers are developing countries,” said Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General. “The ‘mobile miracle’ is putting ICT services within reach of even the most disadvantaged people and communities. Our challenge now is to replicate that success in broadband.” This report shows that while ICT and income levels are closely related, getting the right public policy mix can drive faster take-up and a number of countries, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea have higher IDI levels than their income level would predict.

Mobile now ubiquitous
The spread of mobile networks in developing countries remains buoyant, with 20 per cent growth in mobile subscriptions over the past year and no signs of a slowdown.
In developed countries, on the other hand, mobile cellular penetration has reached saturation, with average penetration now over 100% at end 2010, compared with 70% in developing countries. With more than five billion subscriptions and global population coverage of over 90%, mobile cellular is now de facto ubiquitous.
Mobile broadband (‘3G’) services are also spreading quickly; by end 2010, 154 economies worldwide had launched 3G networks. Wireless broadband Internet access remains the strongest growth sector in developing countries, with mobile broadband growing by 160% between 2009 and 2010. Countries registering the highest gains in the IDI ‘ICT use’ sub-index are mostly those which have achieved a sizeable increase in mobile broadband subscriptions.
Conversely, the number of dial-up Internet subscriptions has been decreasing rapidly since 2007 and, based on current trends, the ‘death of dial-up’ is expected to become a reality over the next few years.

Affordability improves, but developing world still paying too much
Globally, telecommunication and Internet services are becoming more affordable. According to the 2010 ICT Price Basket (IPB), which spans 165 economies and combines the average cost of fixed telephone, mobile cellular and fixed broadband Internet services, the price of ICT services dropped by 18% globally between 2008 and 2010, with the biggest decrease in fixed broadband Internet services, where average prices have come down by 52%.
All economies in the IPB top ten have high GNI per capita, and, with the exception of the United Arab Emirates, all are from Europe and Asia Pacific. In developed countries, average prices for ICT services correspond to no more than 1.5. % of monthly per capita income, compared with 17% in developing countries. But while broadband prices declined sharply worldwide, a high-speed Internet connection remains unaffordable in many low-income countries. For example, in Africa at end 2010, fixed broadband services cost on average the equivalent of 290% of monthly income, down from 650% in 2008.

Big disparities in speed and service quality
Comparing fixed- and mobile broadband technologies and services, the report also finds huge differences in network capacity, speed and quality.
In many developing countries, while the minimum speed for broadband (256 kbit/s) may be sufficient for email and other very basic services, it is inadequate for graphics-rich data-intensive applications and services. In addition, the report notes that the actual speed experienced by both fixed- and mobile broadband customers is often much lower than the advertised speed, and calls on ICT regulators to take steps to encourage operators to provide consumers with clearer information on coverage, speed and prices.
“A new digital divide is unfolding between those with high-speed/capacity/quality access – as is the case in many high-income countries – and those with lower speed/capacity/quality access, as is the case in many low-income countries,” said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Policy-makers should act swiftly to facilitate the spread of broadband and ensure that broadband services are faster, more reliable and affordable.”
The report also points to important qualitative differences between fixed- and mobile broadband services. The average speed of a mobile broadband subscription does not usually match that of a high-speed fixed subscription and usually includes data caps, unlike the ‘unlimited data’ fixed broadband offers that are now widely available. This represents a challenge for countries where mobile is the only broadband access technology available to end users – which is the case in many developing countries.
Targeting youth could be transformational

ITU research indicates that targeting students may be the most effective way to increase Internet use in developing countries. The Internet is only used by an around 21 per cent of the population in the developing world, compared with almost 70 per cent in developed countries.

The Measuring the Information Society 2011 report suggests that the main barriers to Internet use are not always related to infrastructure and price. Usage patterns show major differences related to education, gender, income, age and geographical location of users (urban/rural). For example, there is remarkably little difference in patterns of Internet use among highly educated, high-income individuals across the developing and developed worlds. People with higher educational degrees use the Internet more than those with a lower level of education, and in most countries more men than women are online.

Young people (below the age of 25) are online more than older people, and there is a higher level of Internet use among those currently in school compared with those no longer studying. Assuming that people will continue using the Internet once they have become accustomed to being online, those currently enrolled at school or university are more likely to be future Internet users, too. For young people all over the world, social networking and user-created content like blogs have become key drivers of Internet uptake.
Given that 46 per cent of the population in developing countries is below the age of 25 (representing more than 2.5 billion people), the report suggests that one of the most effective ways to increase Internet use in these countries is by targeting the younger generation – for example through connecting schools and other educational institutions, and improving enrolment rates.

Download the executive summary: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian (PDF format)

Order the full report by clicking here"

Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Information and Communications: Annual Report: 2010-2011

Title: Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Information and Communications: Annual Report: 2010-2011
Pages: 38 pp.
Source: Ministry of Information and Communications
Publisher: Government of Bhutan
Date (published): 06/07/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: statistical report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"This Annual Report of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in the present format is being produced for the first time although the system of sharing and disseminating such information existed even in the past. The present report provides a general overview of some of the main activities implemented by MoIC and its line agencies during the financial year 2010-2011. Hereafter, this will become an annual feature and even expanded to provide thorough and more detailed statistical information, together with analysis of sector performance during the one year period."

International Experiences With Technology in Education: Final Report

Title: International Experiences With Technology in Education: Final Report
Authors: Marianne Bakia, Robert Murphy, Kea Anderson, Gucci Estrella Trinidad
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology
Date (published): August 2011
Date (accessed): 05/09/2011
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (MS Word)
"In a 2009 speech to education researchers, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “Just simply investing in the status quo isn't going to get us where we need to go…We’re competing with children from around the globe for jobs of the future. It's no longer the next state or the next region.”  He challenged education leaders to focus on four areas of education reform:

* Adopting rigorous standards that prepare students for success in college and the workforce;
* Recruiting and retaining effective teachers, especially in classrooms where they're needed most;
* Turning around low-performing schools; and
* Building data systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

To help meet these challenges, the U.S. Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan 2010, which includes technology-related recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders to use in helping to achieve these reforms. In an effort to learn from the experiences of other countries, particularly counties with high-performing education systems, the Department of Education funded this study, International Experiences with Technology in Education (IETE).
The IETE project focused on primary and secondary level education and was conducted in two phases in 2009-10. During the first phase, researchers conducted literature and Internet searches for multi-national data collections. The purpose of the searches was to identify methods, instruments, and available data on key government efforts to integrate information and communications technologies (ICTs) into teaching and learning. In the second phase of the IETE project, available data were updated and extended through a survey and interview of representatives of 21 governments (Exhibit E-1)."

Information policies in Asia: development of indicators

Title: Information policies in Asia: development of indicators
Author: Kavita Karan
Pages: 123 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-9223-362-4
e-ISBN: 978-92-9223-363-1
Source: UNESCO Bangkok Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
Publisher: UNESCO
Date (published): 26/07/2011
Date (accessed): 29/08/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The scope of information policy is broad. For the purposes of this report, information policy can be defined as the collection of policies and strategies that are designed to promote the development of a better-managed information society. These policies include, but extend beyond, those that are concerned with processes, management, promotion and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The need for building a knowledge-based society requires significant contributions from its stakeholders – governments, communities, businesses, civil society and international organizations among others. The role of policy makers is critical because it involves an ability to assess the demands of the stakeholders objectively, equitably and cost-effectively, and, above all, create systems of governance that ensure stability, predictability, rule of law, and fair competition that open up avenues for investments from the private sector and international organizations.
Across the Asia-Pacific region there has been a steady development in the information policiesthatsupporttheinformationsector.Thissectorisexpectedtogrow–incrementally in those countries that have been early starters, and exponentially among those who started later – if policies keep abreast of needs. As such, government initiatives are seen in the establishment of information/ICT ministries at the apex level and/or departments in others. In most of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the acquisition of technology, creation of infrastructure and improving the quality of human resources are significant engagements, but a lot has yet to be achieved. Lesser-developed countries like Bhutan, Lao PDR, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tajikistan, among others, appear to be putting together blueprints for the development of information sectors.
It may be noted that despite low levels of socio-economic development and grappling with problems of widespread poverty, social unrest, political instability and economic distress, there appears to be a desire to build and expand information systems/networks in a majority of countries through concerted government policies, infrastructure development and international support.
This report focuses on assessing country information policies on seven broad dimensions in the context of achieving the goals of information-based societies. These cover (a) overall national policies; (b) telecommunications infrastructure and networks; (c) the content and delivery of information; (d) the information industries in the public and private sectors; (e) legal and regulatory frameworks; and (f ) the skills and competencies of human resources – providers and consumers.
The report is divided into two parts where Part I covers three sections. In the first section contains the objectives and methodology of the data; the second focuses on indicators contributing to information policies across seven dimensions; and the third section concludes the report. The report provides an organizing framework that can be adapted to the needs of information policy initiatives in any given national context. The significance and results of such an analysis provide a blueprint for state interventions to promote an information-rich environment, the efficient running of government and other development projects of the country. Part II is on implementing the indicators and some examples of measurement including a questionaire for household access to information given."

South Africa mobile Internet usage soars to 39%

Title: South Africa mobile Internet usage soars to 39%
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 10/08/2011
Date (accessed): 10/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"The Mobility 2011 research project, conducted by World Wide Worx and backed by First National Bank (FNB), reveals that 39% of urban South Africans and 27% of rural users are now browsing the Internet on their phones.
The study excludes “deep rural” users, and represents around 20-million South Africans aged 16 and above. This means that at least 6-million South Africans now have Internet access on their phones.
The most dramatic shift of all, however, is the arrival of e-mail in the rural user-base and its growth among urban users. There has been a substantial shift among the latter, with urban use rising from 10% in 2009 to 27% at the end of 2010. While the percentage growth among rural users is lower, the fact that it was almost non-existent a year before means the 12% penetration reported for 2010 indicates mobile e-mail becoming a mainstream tool across the population."

The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2011

Title: The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2011
Author Editor:
Pages: pp.
ISBN: 978-0-8213-8248-6
e-ISBN: 978-0-8213-8447-3
Publisher: World Bank
Date (published): 22/06/2011
Date (accessed): 09/08/2011
Type of information: book
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The impacts of information and communication technologies cross all sectors. Research shows that investment in information and communication technologies is associated with such economic benefits as higher productivity, lower costs, new economic opportunities, job creation, innovation, and increased trade and exports. Information and communication technologies also help provide better services in health and education and strengthen social cohesion.

The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2011 charts the progress of this revolution for 213 countries around the world. It provides comparable statistics on the sector for 2000 and 2009 across a range of indicators, enabling readers to readily compare countries.

This book includes indicators covering the economic and social context, the structure of the information and communication technology sector, sector efficiency and capacity, and sector performance related to access, usage, quality, affordability, trade, and applications. The Glossary contains definitions of the terms used in the tables."

Top Ten Opera Mini users in Africa

Title: Top Ten Opera Mini users in Africa
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 31/07/2011
Date (accessed): 01/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"The “State of the Mobile Web Report” by web browser company Opera Software puts a spotlight on the African region. Here are the top trends in Africa for mobile handsets and usage of the Opera Mini mobile web browser, which is used by 72% of all mobile web users in Africa.

The top 10 countries using the Opera Mini browser in this region are Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia and Morocco.
Some numbers: From June 2010 to June 2011, page views in the top 10 countries of Africa increased by 187%, unique users increased by 184% and data transferred increased by 199%.
Growth rates in Africa: Zimbabwe and Morocco lead the top 10 countries of the region in terms of page-view growth (4964.8 % and 1598.4 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe and Ethiopia lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of unique users (4483.3 % and 989.5 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe and Morocco lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of data transferred (3449.7 % and 1385.9 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe leads the top 10 countries of the region in page views per user, with each user browsing 713 pages on average each month.
Among the countries of Africa, the most popular sites include Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo and Wikipedia."

Gartner: mobile payment market is growing slower than expected

Title: Gartner: mobile payment market is growing slower than expected
Source: Gartner, Inc
Date (published): 21/07/2011
Date (accessed): 27/07/2011
Type of information: press release
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Worldwide mobile payment users will surpass 141.1 million in 2011, a 38.2 percent increase from 2010, when mobile payment users reached 102.1 million, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide mobile payment volume is forecast to total $86.1 billion, up 75.9 percent from 2010 volume of $48.9 billion.

Despite these strong growth projections, Gartner analysts said the mobile payment market is growing slower than expected.

“In developing markets, despite favorable conditions for mobile payment, growth is not as strong as was anticipated. Many service providers are yet to adapt their strategies to local requirements, and success models from Kenya and the Philippines are unlikely to be translated to other markets,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. While developing markets have favorable conditions for mobile payments, such as high penetration of mobile devices and low banking penetration, this is no guarantee of success, unless service providers adapt their strategies to local market requirements.”
Gartner expects Short Message Service (SMS) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to remain the dominant access technologies in developing markets due to the constraints of mobile phones. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) will remain the preferred mobile access technology in developed markets, where the mobile Internet is commonly available and activated on the phone. Mobile app downloads and mobile commerce are the main drivers of WAP payments, and WAP will account for almost 90 percent of all mobile transactions in North America and about 70 percent in Western Europe in 2011.

Money transfers and prepaid top-ups will drive transaction volumes in developing markets. These are seen as the "killer apps" in developing markets, where people value the convenience of sending money to relatives and topping up mobile accounts. This is most obvious in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where these two services will account for 54 percent and 32 percent of all transactions in 2011."

3G Breaks India’s Bandwidth Bottleneck

Title: 3G Breaks India’s Bandwidth Bottleneck
Source: TeleGeography
Date (published): 19/07/2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Fixed broadband services in India have grown at a steady, but unspectacular, pace since their introduction in 2003. Providers had signed up 11.5 million subscribers at the end of Q1 2011, up 31 percent from a year earlier. Nevertheless, Indian broadband penetration stands at only 5 percent of households. In contrast, 34 percent of Chinese households have broadband access.
While India’s fixed broadband growth is plodding along, data from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reveal that 3G mobile subscribers are growing at a breathtaking pace. The number of customers signed up to third-generation mobile services skyrocketed 400 percent between March 2010 and March 2011, reaching 12.2 million. This growth is particularly impressive in light of the fact that 3G services were only introduced in 2009, and 3G service has only become widely available from multiple providers in recent months. Indeed, growth has accelerated as 3G coverage and competition has increased, with subscribers increasing by an astonishing 73 percent in the first quarter of 2011."

See also:
In India, Broadband means a 3G connection, By Om Malik,

ICT and Economic Growth: Evidence from Kenya

Title: ICT and Economic Growth: Evidence from Kenya
Author: Richard Heeks
Source: ICTs for Development
Date (published): 26/06/2011
Date (accessed): 06/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Do ICTs contribute to economic growth in developing countries?

In the 1980s, Robert Solow triggered the idea of a productivity paradox, saying “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” And for many years there was a similar developing country growth paradox: that you could increasingly see ICTs in developing countries except in the economic growth data.

That is still largely true of computers and to some extent the Internet, but much less true overall as mobiles have become the dominant form of ICTs in development. In particular key studies such as those by Waverman et al (2005), Lee et al (2009), and Qiang (2009) have demonstrated a clear connection between mobiles and economic growth and/or between telecoms more generally and economic growth. They all address the “endogeneity” problem: that a correlation between telecoms (indeed, all ICTs) and economic growth is readily demonstrable; but that you then have to tease out the direction of causality: economic growth of course causes increased levels of ICTs in a country (we buy more tech as we get richer); you need to try to control for that, and separate out the interesting bit: the extent to which the technology causes economic growth."

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