Nepal Lags Behind in ICT, But Prices Drop: ITUPrinter-friendly version |
Nepal ranks 131st in ICT Price Basket released by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
"Measuring the Information Society 2011", released recently by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ranks Nepal at 131st in the global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Price Basket popularly known as ICT Price Basket.
The publication is ITU's flagship annual ICT report. It ranks the Republic of Korea as the world's most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland.
Regionally, Nepal (131) is far behind other countries such as Maldives (54), Sri Lanka (63), Bhutan (79), India (87), Pakistan (109) and Bangladesh (120). The Maldives tops the list among South Asian countries on affordability of ICT services while Nepal is at the bottom.
According to an ITU press release of September 15, 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.
The ITU press release says that 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.
The UN specialized agency ITU says in the release that 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.
ITU notes in the release that 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.
The report says Nepal's cost of Information and Communication Technology decreased (now a score of 26.4 from 28.9 in 2008). Among the three categories of ICT price basket, Nepal is 137th on the fixed-telephone sub-basket, 117th on mobile-cellular sub-basket and 139th on fixed-broadband sub-index sub-basket. The report added that developing countries lean toward 'low-end' market segment. The good sign is that the affordability is increasing globally since prices for ICT services have continued to drop, as much as fifty percent in the case of broadband.
> Full report (174 pages)