Info-tech

India slips in UN’s broadband penetration ranking

OUR BUREAU Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on September 21, 2015

Broadband

Falls to 155th place from 113, behind Syria, Zimbabwe and Ghana



At a time when the Centre is pushing the Digital India campaign and talking about broadband for all, the country’s Internet growth is lagging that of most other countries.

According to the State of Broadband 2015 report by the United Nations, India’s broadband penetration ranking has fallen to 155 from 113.

This despite the fact that the number of people with broadband access on mobile phones has gone up to 5.5 per cent of the population compared with just 3.2 per cent in 2013.

Released on Monday, just ahead of the forthcoming meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on September 26, the report reveals that 57 per cent of the world’s people remain offline and unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits the Internet can offer. While India's overall broadband penetration (mobile and fixed line) ranking improved to 136 from 142 in 2014 it is still way behind countries such as Syria, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

Uneven growth

New figures in the report confirm that globally 3.2 billion people are now connected, up from 2.9 billion last year, and equating to 43 per cent of the global population. But while access to the Internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, it isonly accessible to 35 per cent of people in developing countries. The situation in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries is particularly critical, with over 90 per cent of people without any kind of Internet connectivity.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals remind us that we need to measure global development by the number of those being left behind,” said International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

“The market has done its work connecting the world’s wealthier nations, where a strong business case for network roll-out can easily be made. Our important challenge now is to find ways of getting online the four billion people who still lack the benefits of Internet connectivity, and this will be a primary focus of the Broadband Commission going forward.”

This year’s figures show that the top 10 countries for household Internet penetration are all located in Asia or the Middle East.

The Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration, with 98.5 per cent of homes connected; Qatar (98 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (94 per cent) are ranked second and third, respectively.

Published on September 21, 2015
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