ICT Development Index Shows no Progress on Digital Divide

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has recently launched an ICT Development Index (IDI) which compares developments in ICT in 154 countries over a five-year period from 2002 to 2007. Its main objective is to provide policymakers with a tool to benchmark and assess their information society developments and to monitor global progress in bridging the digital divide.

The report indicates that the most progress has been made on ICT access, which includes fixed and mobile telephony, Internet bandwidth, and the number of households with computers and the Internet. ICT use (which includes the number of internet users, fixed and mobile broadband and subscribers) has been much slower in comparison. The slow uptake in broadband has been a determining factor in this low level of ICT use across many countries.

One of the main objectives of the IDI is to measure the scale and evolution of the global digital divide. Based on the concept that the digital divide is 'relative' - meaning that it compares ICT developments in one country with those in another country - the report shows that overall the magnitude of the global digital divide remains unchanged between 2002 and 2007. Despite significant improvements in the developing world, the gap between the ICT haves and have-nots remains.

Click here to view the ICT Development Index 2009.