ITU - ICT services are coming downBy Hanleigh Daniels 15 October 2012 | Categories: news
Globally, telecommunication and internet services are becoming more affordable. This according to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), a United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues.
The ITU recently released its latest global technology development figures as part of the organisation’s flagship annual report entitled Measuring the Information Society 2012 (MIS 2012).
An ICT Price Basket (IPB) was included with this report, spanning 161 economies and combines the average cost of fixed-telephone, mobile-cellular as well as fixed-broadband internet services. This IPB found that the price of ICT services dropped by 30% globally between 2008 and 2011, with the biggest decrease in fixed-broadband internet services, where average prices have come down by 75%.
It further shows that ICT prices in developed economies have stabilised, but those in developing nations continue to fall at double-digit rates. Even though ICT prices are decreasing steadily within developing states, fixed-broadband services are still too expensive for most of these countries’ citizenry.
By the end of 2011, the price of a basic, monthly fixed-broadband package represented more than 40% of monthly gross national income (GNI) per capita, much higher when compared to developed economies (1.7% of GNI).
Affordability targets set in 2011 by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, on which the ITU serves as co-vice chair, set the targeted cost of an entry-level broadband subscription at less than 5% of GNI.
One promising development is the growth of mobile-broadband services. In developing countries, mobile-broadband services are more widely accessible and, in the case of low-volume packages, less costly than fixed-broadband internet services. As a result of this, mobile broadband is expected to boost internet use, which stood at 32% globally and 24% in developing countries at end 2011.
“The past year has seen continued and almost universal growth in ICT uptake. The surge in numbers of mobile-broadband subscriptions in developing countries has brought the internet to a multitude of new users,” said Brahima Sanou, director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which produces the annual MIS report.
“But despite the downward trend, prices remain relatively high in many low-income countries. For mobile broadband to replicate the mobile-cellular miracle and bring more people from developing countries online, 3G network coverage has to be extended and prices have to go down even further.”
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