Table of Contents

  • I am pleased to present to you the 2014 edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report. Now in its sixth year, this annual report identifies key information and communication technology (ICT) developments and tracks the cost and affordability of ICT services, in accordance with internationally agreed methodologies. Its core feature is the ICT Development Index (IDI), which ranks countries’ performance with regard to ICT infrastructure, use and skills. The report aims to provide an objective international performance evaluation based on quantitative indicators and benchmarks, as an essential input to the ICT policy debate in ITU Member States.

  • The past year has been characterized by uninterrupted growth in the spread of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and in ICT uptake by citizens and public and private organizations. While the global mobile-cellular market is approaching saturation levels, mobile-broadband uptake continues to grow at double-digit rates in all regions, and mobile broadband remains the strongest growing market segment. This trend is accompanied by a slowdown in fixed-broadband uptake in the developing world, where mobilebroadband services provide a response to the demand for high-speed Internet access in view of the lack of affordable fixed-broadband services, whereas in the developed world both fixed- and mobile-broadband uptake is growing continuously.

  • The ICT Development Index (IDI) is a composite index combining 11 indicators into one benchmark measure that serves to monitor and compare developments in information and communication technology (ICT) across countries. The IDI was developed by ITU in 2008 and first presented in the 2009 edition of Measuring the Information Society (ITU, 2009). It was produced in response to ITU Member States’ request to develop an ICT index and publish it regularly. This section briefly describes the main objectives, conceptual framework and methodology of the IDI.

  • The price of ICT services constitutes a determining factor for ICT uptake and, as such, continues to be a focus of attention for regulators and policy-makers. Affordability remains the main barrier to Internet access at home in many developing countries. In Brazil, for instance, 44 per cent of all households with a computer did not have Internet in 2013 because they considered it too expensive or beyond their means (CETIC.BR, 2013). In developed countries, although not having Internet at home may be more attributable to other factors, such as lack of interest, cost still represents a barrier for many people. In the European Union, around one in five households without Internet cite cost as the reason, and seven out of ten of those who have Internet state that price is the most important factor when choosing the service (European Commission, 2013; European Commission, 2014). The importance of affordability also applies to other ICT services, and its impact goes beyond access, also influencing usage: over half of EU citizens limit their national mobile phone calls because of concerns about cost (European Commission, 2014).

  • One of the key challenges in measuring the information society has been the lack of upto- date and reliable data, in particular from developing countries. The information and communication technologies (ICT) sector is evolving rapidly, as are the types of service and application that are driving the information society, all of which makes identifying and tracking new trends even more challenging. As the key global source for internationally comparable ICT statistics, ITU is continuously working to improve the availability and quality of those statistics and identify new data sources. In this context, the emergence of big data holds great promise, and there is an opportunity to explore their use in order to complement the existing, but often limited, ICT data.