In 2012 the International Telecommunication Union released it’s fourth annual report “Measuring the Information Society” which monitors innovative tools developed by ITU to monitor information- society development worldwide. According to the director Brahima Sanou claims that this report “ presents the ICT Development Index (IDI), which ranks countries’ performance with regard to ICT infrastructure and uptake, and the ICT Price Basket (IPB), a unique metric that tracks and compares the cost and affordability of ICT services” (ITU 5). This edition features a new way to measure the world’s telecommunication capacity. According to the report this past year has seen a strong growth rate in ICT uptake with an increase in all key indicators. ITU and it’s partners are collaboratively working towards achievement of the goals and targets emphasizing the need for access to broadband infrastructure and the need to bridge the digital divide. According to the overview of this report its main objective is to “identify the recent global and regional trends in ICT development and uptake on the basis of internationally comparable ICT statistics” (ITU 27). This report provides the public and researchers with valuable data on several countries IDI and IPBs.
Two key featured tools used for data throughout this report is the ICT Development Index (IDI) and the ICT Price Basket (IPB). The results of these two metrics can further help policy makers identify current trends as well as notice which actions need to be taken as well as compare various ICT development tracks in different regions. The data provided is supposed to provide an unbiased overview of ICT trends. The data used throughout the report is primarily statistics collected by ITU however they do receive additional data from “the United Nations Population Division (population statistics, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (statistics on literacy and school enrollment), the World Bank (data on GNI per capita and PPP dollars), and UNCTAD, OECD and IMF (data on revenue and investment)” (ITU 27). While this report focuses primarily on the IDI and the IPB it also proposes new approaches to study and examine ICT development.
The ICT Development Index is an index combined of eleven indicators into on benchmark measure to compare ICT developments across countries. It was first development by ITU in 2008 and demonstrates the level and evolution over time of ICT developments as well as it’s progress. It also exhibits differences between countries referring to the digital divide as well as future development potentials. The ITU ICT Price Basket is a tool that delivers intuitive information on the cost and affordability of ICT technologies further explaining the development of ICTs in the developing world. It is composed of three prices for fixed – telephones, mobile phones, and fixed broadband service and computed as a percentage compared to the GNI. According to the repot “the price of ICT services has a significant impact on the demand for and spread of ICTs, prices strongly influence how many people are able and willing to subscribe to a service” (ITU 81). For my short paper I studied Cambodia in South East Asia and explored their ICT development throughout the past several years.
Cambodia is considered to be one of the United Nations Least Developed Countries. It is in the bottom thirty list for this reports IDI index for 2010 and 2011. From 2010 to 2011 their ICT IDI index rankings increased by 2 however they still had a low score of 1.96. In every sub- category Cambodia was towards the bottom of the list. Accordingly to the IDI for the IPB Cambodia is ranked 130 out of 161 countries with a score of 24.3 in 2011. Cambodia has one of the highest prices for broadband infrastructure, which limits the access and creates a larger barrier along with a larger digital divide. Because of Cambodia’s high prices this report shows that it is one of the least developed countries for ICT development. With the information provided by this report, hopefully policy makers can further create policies and propose valuable ideas that can help further develop the ICT access in countries such as Cambodia.