ICT Development Index

The ICT Development Index (IDI) is a composite index combining 11 indicators into one benchmark measure that serves to monitor and compare developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across various countries.

The main objectives of the IDI are to measure:

  • The level and evolution over time of the ICT developments in countries and in relative to other countries.
  • The digital divide, i.e. differences between countries with different level of ICT developments.
  • The development potential of ICTs or the extent to which countries can make use of ICTs to enhance growth and development, based on capabilities and skills.
  • The 11 indicators are categorized into 3 sets of sub-indices namely:
  • ICT Access – reflecting the level of networked infrastructure and access to ICTs.It includes five infrastructure and access indicators (fixed-telephony, mobile telephony, international Internet bandwidth, households with computers, and households with Internet).
  • ICT Use – reflecting the level of use of ICTs in the society.It includes three ICT intensity and usage indicators (Internet users, fixed (wired)-broadband, and mobile broadband).
  • ICT skills – reflecting the ICT capability and skills required to use ICT effectively.It includes three proxy indicators (adult literacy, gross secondary enrolment and gross tertiary enrolment) and therefore is given less weight in the computation of the IDI compared with the other two sub-indices.

The ICT Price Basket (IPB) is a unique metric that tracks and compares the cost and affordability of ICT services in more than 160 countries globally. The IPB index measures communication costs as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, and highlights the tremendous regional disparities in connectivity costs.

Both the IDI and the IPB combined are powerful measures for benchmarking and explaining differences among countries and within regions when it comes to ICT developments.

Latest Report

Recently, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released Measuring the Information Society 2012 report which ranks 155 countries on the basis of the ICT Development Index and the ICT Price Basket (IPB).

As per the latest report, South Korea has the most advanced telecommunication infrastructure in the world, while Niger was ranked the worst. The report marked that the digital divide between the most and least developed countries is continues to grow. Global broadband prices have dropped nearly 75 per cent between 2008 and 2011, yet the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, continue to have the highest connectivity costs in the world. According to the report, the average African mobile user can expect to pay to almost 20 per cent of her monthly income on mobile connectivity costs, compared to the average Asian who would pay less than 10 per cent, while the average European would pay a per-cent-and-a-half. Similarly, fixed broadband services in Africa cost 96 per cent of the average monthly salary in 2011, down from an astonishing 458 per cent of monthly income in 2008, compared to 20 per cent of average monthly salary in Asia.

India’s position:

Despite India’s widely reported advances and investments in the telecommunication sector, the country is ranked 119th in the world in the ICT Development Index, below Zimbabwe, Bhutan and Ghana. India fares slightly better in the affordability index, and is ranked 85th out of 161 countries in the ICT Price Basket (IPB) Index.

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