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‘Developing countries “slow” on Internet'

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Honorary guest:Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot and Secretary, Department of Telecommunication, P. J. Thomas at the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Honorary guest:Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot and Secretary, Department of Telecommunication, P. J. Thomas at the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

ITU report reveals 80 per cent population not using the facility

HYDERABAD: More than three quarters of the world's population (80 per cent in developing countries) are not yet using the Internet.

This is not the case only with rural areas in the developing world, even a majority of hospitals, schools, public institutions and households located outside major urban areas are yet to be connected to broadband.

A mid term review of the targets enshrined in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) for 2015 expressed concern that developed countries showed a high level achievement in the 10 indicators set by the WSIS for enabling broadband access to at least half of the world population by 2015. In contrast, the performance in developing countries was still at a lower level.

Sami Al Bashir, International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Development Bureau director, released a report as part of the ongoing World Telecommunication Development Conference 2010 here on Tuesday. The review concluded that the mobile cellular network coverage, presently at 86 per cent, would rise to 100 per cent by 2015 and more than half of the population would be using mobile phones by 2015, in line with the targets.

Major constraint

The report lamented that limited data availability had constituted a major constraint in the mid term review as even data of the most basic indicators was not collected at the national level. “This is particularly alarming in the case of developing countries where ICT penetration levels are lower and which are lagging behind on several of the targets”, the report added.

“People have no reason to go online when there is nothing relevant for them to find on the Internet,” the report said. This was evident from the fact that more than half of the 1.7 billion Internet users speak languages with non-Latin scripts while the proportion of English speaking Internet users had fallen from 80 per cent in 1996 to 30 per cent in 2007.

The report elaborated on the need for building an ICT-literate society in addition to promoting the use of as many languages as possible.


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