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Internet Quality on the World Development Indicators

Over the past two years LIRNEasia has contributed to the collection, calculation and analysis of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) database on voice and data affordability, i.e. sub-basket calculations for fixed broadband, mobile broadband and mobile cellular services, in Asia, CIS and the pacific (approx 60 countries). The type of data provided by operators differs within and across countries; however, the sub-basket methodology allows for some comparison.

The world development indicators (WDI) report uses some of these indicators along with others in attempt to measure the information society. The ‘Internet quality’ column strikes a chord. The two indicators used are fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 (the number of broadband subscribers with a digital subscriber line, cable modem, or other high-speed technology) and international Internet bandwidth (the contracted capacity of international connections between countries for transmitting Internet traffic) – both of which are hardly an indicator of Internet quality. The amount of bandwidth available at the national level is not proportionate to the amount of bandwidth available for an individual user. In the hypothetical situation there is a correlation, it still does not project any quality indicators.

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