By Mark A. Ollig
“Measuring the Information Society Report” was released to the public recently by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The data contained within this report is considered some of the most trustworthy, and is often referenced.
It provides statistics, and analyzes the current state of information and communication technology (ICT) throughout the world.
Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General, calls this report “a critical part of the global ICT development process.”
The ITU gathers statistics for 200 economies across 100 indicators, which provide measurement data to track progress.
The report discloses the use of the Internet growing at a rate of 6.6 percent, globally.
In developing countries, the Internet growth is 8.7 percent, the number of Internet users in these countries has doubled from 2009 to today.
More economically developed parts of the world have seen a 3.3 percent increase.
Still, 4.3 billion people in the world do not use the Internet. Of these people, 90 percent are living in economically developing countries.
The ITU says of this 4.3 billion, 2.4 billion are living in what they call the world’s 42 Least Connected Countries (LCC).
The benefits provided from information and communication technology, are not available to those living in the LCC.
“ICTs have the potential to make the world a much better place – in particular for those who are the poorest and the most disenfranchised, including women, youth, and those with disabilities,” Touré said.
The ITU report noted the improvement in LCC’s Internet bandwidth; from 9 percent in 2004, to 30 percent today.
This is a promising indication of the future availability of the Internet’s full potential being made available to the LCC.
Global rankings for ICT access, use, and skills, among 166 countries, according to the ITU’s Global ICT Development Index (IDI) level, were revealed.
In Europe, the top five IDI countries are Denmark, first; Sweden, third; Iceland, fourth; United Kingdom, fifth; and Norway sixth.
South Korea in the Asia and Pacific region was listed at 2nd.
The top five per region chart in The Americas, showed the US with a global IDI ranking of 14; Canada 23; Barbados 35, Uruguay 48; and St. Kitts and Nevis, 54.
The top IDI countries have high incomes, competitive markets, and a skilled population.
A breakdown of 230 countries, and the percentage of their population using the Internet, was displayed on an Excel spreadsheet from the ITU website.
Russia, in 2000, had 2 percent of its population using the Internet, as compared to nearly 62 percent today.
The US is shown having 84.2 percent of its population currently using the Internet, which is almost double the percentage of users since 2000.
In the United Kingdom, nearly 90 percent of the people there are using the Internet, which is a dramatic difference from 2000, when it was only 27 percent.
Almost 95 percent of Sweden’s population now uses the Internet.
The Excel file can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/ocr5bg7.
The ITU also contains a wealth of historical statistics.
Yours truly, being in the telecommunications business, noticed the global General Telephone Statistics for 1948.
In 1948, the population of the US was 146.3 million.
During this time, the ITU reported there were 38.2 million (corded) telephones operational in the US.
The ITU’s ICT statistics home page is http://tinyurl.com/mkw4cwc.
In less than two months, it will be the 100th anniversary of the first transcontinental telephone call from New York to San Francisco.
It was Jan. 25, 1915, and the person holding the patent for the first telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was in New York City.
His former associate, Thomas A. Watson, was located in San Francisco
Telephone wire lines and transmission equipment, spanning some 3,400 miles, connected Bell and Watson.
Bell spoke the words into the telephone’s transmitter he first said some 39 years previously, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.”
Watson, upon hearing Bell, replied into his telephone, “It would take me a week to get to you this time.”
Indeed. For it was in Boston, March 10, 1876, while the two were working on an experimental telephone, when Watson first heard Bell’s voice over a telephone connected to wires.
The New York Times Jan. 26, 1915 article, “Phone to Pacific From the Atlantic” can be read at http://tinyurl.com/l49q7r8.