The use of information and communication technologies continues to accelerate worldwide, spurred by a steady decrease in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services, the United Nations telecommunication agency said Thursday.
New data in the U.N. Telecommunication Union’s annual report, entitled “Measuring the Information Society 2011,” ranks the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland.
The report includes the 2010 information and communication technology price basket index, which spans 165 economies and combines the average cost of fixed telephone, mobile cellular and fixed broadband Internet services. It found that the price of such services dropped by 18 per cent globally between 2008 and 2010, with the biggest decrease in fixed broadband Internet services, where average prices came down by 52 per cent.
Also featured is the information and communication technology development index, which ranks 152 countries according to their level of access, use and skills, and compares 2008 and 2010 scores. Most countries at the top of that ranking are from Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The United Arab Emirates and Russia are ranked first in their respective regions, while Uruguay leads in South America.
Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Vietnam and Russia were some of the most dynamic countries between 2008 and 2010, with all of them making substantial improvements in their index ranks.
All countries included in the index improved their scores, underlining the increasing pervasiveness of these technologies in today’s global information society, the report notes.
In developed countries, mobile cellular penetration has reached saturation, with average penetration over 100 per cent at the end of last year, compared with 70 per cent in developing countries.
Mobile broadband services are also spreading fast. Some 154 economies worldwide had launched 3G networks by the end of last year. Wireless broadband Internet access remains the strongest growth sector in developing countries, growing by 160 per cent between 2009 and 2010, according to the report.
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 predicts.