Digital Access Index shows global comms growth

Slovenians have the same access to technology as New Zealanders and the French is one of the surprising results of a global index...

Slovenians have the same access to technology as New Zealanders and the French is one of the surprising results of a global index of information and communication technology (ICT) access put together by the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva.

The Digital Access Index, released yesterday, is part of the 2003 edition of the ITU's World Telecommunication Development Report. It looks at the infrastructure available in countries, but also at affordability of technology and education levels, the quality of ICT services available and at internet use.

The report classifies countries into four digital access categories: high, upper, medium and low. Countries are given an index number based on a scale of 0 to 1, with 1 meaning the highest access.

In the high category, the top nine countries are Asian and European. The leaders in the high category are Sweden with a score of 0.85, Denmark with 0.83, and Iceland and the Republic of Korea with 0.82.

The UK, with a 0.77 score, came in just below Canada and the US, which both scored 0.78. France, Slovenia, Italy and New Zealand all received a score of 0.72.

The upper category is mainly made up of countries from Central and Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Government policies have given these countries an impressive level of ICT access, the ITU said. Ireland leads this category with 0.69, followed by Cyprus with 0.68 and Estonia, Spain and Malta each with 0.67.

The growth of ICT access in Asia suggests that English is no longer a decisive factor in quick technology adoption, as more content is made available in other languages.

Niger languishes at the bottom of the low access index, with a score of 0.04.

Gillian Law writes for IDG News Service

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