Arab Internet Use

02-12-2014 09:35 PM

Antoun Milad

Arab States have shown the highest improvement in regional ICT Development Index (IDI) averages over the past 12 months, according to the International Telecommunication Union in its Measuring the Information Society 2014 Report.
More than 3 billion people use the Internet and information and communication technology (ICT) growth remains buoyant in just about every country worldwide, said the report which was launched at a recent press conference in Cairo.
Internet use grew “steadily” by 6.6 per cent globally in 2014; recording 3.3 per cent in developed countries compared to 8.7 per cent in the developing world where the number of Internet users doubled from 2009-2014. Two thirds of all people online now live in the developing world, according to a presentation offered at the conference.
Denmark, followed by the Republic of Korea topped the ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) among 166 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills.
Countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Macao (China), New Zealand, Singapore and the United States occupied the top 30 ranks.
Europe’s average IDI value of 7.14 remains well ahead of the next best-performing region, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – 5.33) followed by the Americas (4.86), Asia and the Pacific (4.57), the Arab States (4.55), and Africa at 2.31, according to the report.
The report states that 90 per cent of the 4.3 billion people not yet using the internet are living in developing countries. “In the world’s 42 Least Connected Countries (LCCs), which are home to 2.5 billion people, access to ICTs remains largely out of reach, particularly for these countries’ large rural populations,” according to the report.
The report estimated that mobile subscriptions may reach 7 billion by the end of 2014, but it warned against concluding that everyone is connected. Instead, many users have multiple subscriptions… An estimated 450 million people worldwide live in places which are still out of reach of mobile cellular service.

Watani International
2 December 2014

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