The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released their flagship annual report this week “Measuring the Information Society 2013” with ICT Development Index (IDI) 2012 and 2011. Source: ITU Measuring the Information Society Report 2013.

There were no surprises:

  • Mobile broadband over smartphones and tablets is the fastest growing segment
  • Mobile broadband over 3G and 3G+ networks are growing at an average annual 40 per cent, a global penetration rate of almost 30 per cent
  • Almost 50 per cent of all people worldwide are now covered by a 3G network
  • 6.8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions in 2013, 2.1 billion mobile-broadband subscriptions
  • Nearly 3 billion people connected to the Internet
  • 41 per cent of households have a computer and 37 per cent Internet access–nearly 80 per cent in the developed world, compared with 28 per cent in the developing world; online population in the developed world will reach almost 77 per cent by end 2013, compared with 31 per cent in the developing world.

Why is Canada lagging?

 ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI), widely recognized as the most accurate measure of overall national ICT development, ranks 157 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2011 and 2012 scores.

Korea ranked first in overall ICT development for the third consecutive year, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, UK, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Macao, Singapore, New Zealand, US, France, Germany, Canada. What is noteworthy is that Canada is ranked 20th with NO change in ranking from 2011. “This year’s IDI figures show much reason for optimism, with governments clearly prioritizing ICTs as a major lever of socio-economic growth, resulting in better access and lower prices,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. There is a strong link between ICT development and income and IDI values are double in developed countries versus developing countries. Australia currently ranked 11th went up four places since 2011. What can Canada do better from its static 20th ranking? What does this mean to innovation, education, industry?

The report also shows Austria has the world’s most affordable mobile broadband with other countries ranking well including Qatar, the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait and France.

Digital natives — networked youth aged 15-24 years with five or more years of online experience.

In 2012, out of a world population of 7 billion, there were 363 million digital natives representing 5.2 per cent of the global population and 30 per cent of the global youth population. Young people are almost twice as networked as the general global population.

In developed countries, 86.3 per cent of the 145 million young Internet users are digital natives. Less than half of the 503 million young Internet users in the developing world are digital natives and this is expected to more than double in five years.

With the aging ICT population in Canada, what can be done to better engage the youth who will shape the country and its prosperity?

The report generates a lot of questions about our country.




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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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