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ITU survey: Measuring the Information Society Report 2017

The 9th edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report (MISR), published annually by ITU since 2009, has been published for 2017. The MISR 2017. This annual publication provides essential information about ICT development and studies in the field of costs and affordability of ICT services worldwide, measured in accordance with internationally agreed methodologies.

The MISR 2017 aims to stimulate the ICT policy debate in ITU Member States by providing an objective assessment of how countries have performed in the field of ICT and by highlighting areas that need further improvement.

For the first time the MISR includes individual country profiles highlighting the ICT market structure and the latest developments in 192 economies worldwide. Each country profile includes an overview of the policy and regulatory initiatives undertaken as well as the current status of network roll-out and service uptake. These profiles are presented in Volume 2 of the MISR 2017.

Data from the annually published EOY benchmark studies of Curaçao, since 2014, Benchmark Telecommunication, Broadband and Television Indicators’, so far have not been included in the MISR for Curaçao as an independent member of the ITU, as Curaçao is a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However BT&P uses the ITU questionnaire, composed of data from the MISR 2017 as a source for its benchmark study. 

MISR 2017 highlights & key findings

The report features key ICT data and benchmarking tools to measure the information society, including the ICT Development Index (IDI) for  2017. The IDI is a powerful tool that governments, operators, development agencies, researchers and others can use to measure the progress towards a global information society in terms of ICT infrastructure, use and skills.

The most important aspect of the IDI is that countries should track their own year on year progress and make policy adjustments to grow their countries’ telecommunication/ICT sector. In addition a thorough analysis of the information society is presented and new and emerging trends and measurement issues are highlighted. 

The MISR 2017 elaborates on the following topics:

  • The current state of ICT
  • The ICT Development Index (IDI) – Global Analysis
  • The ICT Development Index (IDI) – regional and country analysis
  • The emerging ICT trends

Find below a brief rundown of some of the key findings of the report.  

IDI performance 2017

The 2017 Index shows that there has been continued improvement in IDI performance by the great majority of countries. Improvements have been most significant among middle-income developing countries testifying to the fact that these countries are catching up with the top performers in ICT development. But Least Developed Countries (LDCs) improved their average IDI value as well. Mobile broadband is the driving force behind this trend. Worldwide active mobile-broadband subscriptions increased from 11.5 per 100 inhabitants to 56.4 in only 7 years and growth in LDCs was even stronger, from 0.4 in 2010 to 22.3 in 2017, offering hope that they are on a path to catch up with the rest of the world. 

Recent developments in ICT markets have led to the adoption of proposals for change in the composition of the IDI. A revised set of indicators will be introduced for IDI 2018 which should add further insights into the performance of individual countries and the relative performance of countries at different development levels.

Measuring ICT development

The report shows a sustained growth in the availability of communication, with growth in mobile cellular telephony and, more recently, in mobile-broadband leading the way. Growth in fixed and mobile-broadband infrastructure has stimulated internet access and use. Consequently the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide now exceeds 50 per 100 population.

In spite of this ICT expansion there are still substantial digital divides between and within countries and regions as well as gender divides. However, there has been registered progress in ICT growth by least developed countries, in terms of connectivity and internet use. Globally, more than 50% of households worldwide now have access to the internet, although the rate of growth appears to have dropped below 5 % a year.

Emerging ICT trends

Based on the report it is clear that ICTs are very dynamic and that another digital revolution is approaching that will transform businesses, governments and societies, with four key developments at the heart of this revolution: the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things will gain an even bigger foothold in the market. Apart from people, organizations and information resources, it will also connect objects equipped with digital information and with sensing, processing and communication capabilities, generating abundant data used to achieve efficiency gains in the production and distribution of goods and services, and to improve human life in innovative ways.

Big data analytics

With big data analytics this increased flow of digital information will enable a better understanding and prediction of ICT developments, as well as improved management and policy decisions. A workforce with appropriate analytical, computational, methodological skills and a high-capacity ICT infrastructure will be indispensable.

Cloud and other architectures will facilitate scalable computing resources. They are starting to deliver flexible and on-demand computational services over the internet, lowering the fixed-cost of ICT infrastructure, to the benefit of small- and medium-sized organizations. Realizing their full potential will depend on the availability of reliable fixed and mobile broadband connectivity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will help humans to make better decisions. This will require considerable human expertise in machine learning and large datasets to train algorithms. 

All in all, fully harnessing the economic and social benefits of these advanced ICTs requires efficient and affordable appropriate physical infrastructures and services and more advanced skills. Networks will have to support diverse quality-of-service demands from ICT applications and users while delivering robust and ubiquitous connectivity. This will require the roll-out of wireless Internet of Things platforms and relying on network virtualization and improved fiber connectivity.  Promising ICT applications in areas such as manufacturing, precision agriculture, government, education, health care, smart cities, and smart transportation, will contribute to accelerating the attainment of the SDGs. Reliable and meaningful measures of the deployment and use of advanced ICTs are critical.

Download het ‘Measuring the Information Society Report 2017’. voor uitgebreid inzicht in het onderzoek en raadpleeg de IDI 2017 voor inzicht in de IDI score en waardering en vergelijking van de verschillende economieën.

(Source: ITUBT&P publication period: 2018)