Notwithstanding the huge growth in mobile subscription, India is among the worst performing countries when it comes to connectivity and broadband speeds according to two new studies.

India is ranked a poor 21{+s}{+t} among 25 developing countries in terms of connectivity according to a new global report commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks.

Malaysia, chile

While Malaysia and Chile top this category, Sweden has the best score at the global level.

The annual report, called Connectivity Scorecard, states, “India performs modestly or poorly on almost all fronts. The reality is that compared to its BRIC peers, India's infrastructure requires a major improvement. For example, India's broadband penetration rate (measured as subscribers per 100 households) is around an eighth of the rate achieved in China. Even on mobile penetration, India is still substantially behind many other countries, especially Latin American countries.”

The report, conducted by the consulting firms Berkeley Research Group and Communicea, gives India a score of 1.25 whereas Malaysia and Chile have a score of over 6. Even countries like Vietnam, Tunisia and Iran are ahead of India. Only Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Kenya are below in the ‘Resource and Efficiency driven Economies' category.

“On virtually all metrics, ranging from personal computer penetration to enterprise spending on software and hardware, India is among the handful of least well performing countries. There are virtually no redeeming features,” it added. The report also raises concerns about the regulatory flip-flops in spectrum allocation. “In India's case, regulatory uncertainty and perceived opportunism, coupled with a spectrum allocation policy that emphasises revenue-generation, can have much more serious consequences for investment and particularly for consumers. This is particularly true for investment by foreign operators who have access to cutting-edge technology,” it said.

9.1% decrease

Another global report on state of Internet by Akamai Technologies says that India suffered a 9.1 per cent decrease in average Internet connection speeds in 2010 to 0.8 Mbps, compared to 2009. In comparison, the Philippines and China have an average connection speed of 1 Mbps while Malaysia tops them at 1.3 Mbps. The average Singaporean enjoys 3.1 Mbps speeds.

Year-over-year trends in the APAC region were positive, with the biggest increase seen in Australia, which ended 2010 with an average connection speed 35 per cent higher than at the end of 2009.

The adoption of “high broadband” (>5 Mbps) in India is at 0.4 per cent and has dropped 30 per cent in 2010. As of end 2010, 35 per cent of all connections in India are at an average speed of 256 Kbps.

(This article was published on May 6, 2011)
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