LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

After Access: A multi-country study of ICT access and use in Asia


Since 2005, LIRNEasia has been conducting large-scale nationally representative demand side research on ICT access and use in the Asia region. Starting 2017, we will conduct nationally representative surveys of access to and use of ICTs in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia. The work is part of a larger comparative project being conducted in partnership with RIA (Research ICT Africa) in Africa and DIRSI (Dialogo Regional sobre Sociedad de la Informacion) in Latin America.  The research is funded by the International Development Research Centre (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia) as well as the Ford Foundation (Indonesia and Nepal).


This global effort is meant to collect a range of household, individual and small and micro-enterprise ICT data. We expect the data will be able to offer us deeper insight into the demand-side barriers to digital equality. Our ability to inform policies and regulation will thereby have a more comprehensive base of evidence. The compiled indicators will meet threshold compliance of the WSIS-initiated Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development.

The research will provide a detailed understanding of:

  • Demand, or the absence of it
  • Users, citizens and consumers in all their diversity
  • What and what not people are using their mobile devices for
  • What they will and will not pay for
  • Use of social networking and other services
  • Response to zero-rated or pared-down services/platforms
  • Whether these services stimulate take up and are a gateway to open Internet use or whether they are Internet ghettos for the poor
  • What privacy and security concerns users have, and what coping mechanisms they use to overcome these, if at all
  • The extent to which people use mobile wallet/financial services
  • The reasons for people being offline
  • What they are using the Internet for when they are.

The data collected will help us understand:

  • The evolution of mobile use, internet use and the use of other ICTs
  • Usage patterns and the associated demographics and to model these
  • Consumer welfare, including affordability in the context of real users and real income – not national averages that mask inequality
  • Constraints and drivers of usage ‘Beyond Access’, particularly in relation to human development
  • Use and constraints around mobile financial services
  • Quality of service delivery of ICTs, both public and private
  • How we can inform policy in ways that policy could not be informed other wise



We will collect survey data from households and individuals, using comparable methodology and a common questionnaire with RIA and DIRSI (with some local customization). Field teams will conduct face-to-face interviews with the respondents and use electronic data entry (CAPI methods). The teams will interview household heads of selected houses, on household characteristics, and a randomly selected household member (aged 15-65) on individual characteristics and ICT usage.


The sampling of households, individuals and enterprises will be done using probability-based sampling, enabling a representative sample to be selected. The desired level of accuracy for the survey is set to a confidence level of 95% and an absolute precision (relative margin of error) of 5%.  This yields then, a minimum sample size of 768 per country for households and individuals. The actual sample size for countries is slightly larger than the minimum requirement, to compensate for clustering effects. This will also allow for urban/rural, gender- and income-based disaggregation of data.

LIRNEasia’s sister network RIA developed the sampling method used for this study. RIA applied their method over the past decade in numerous countries in Africa to achieve nationally representative results for households, individuals and other target groups simultaneously in a cost-effective way. We may make country-wise adaptations to this method, however, based on the availability of national sampling frameworks.

Timelines and status

The status for each of the countries is as follows:

  1. Indonesia – Survey complete; preliminary findings will be released following analysis.
  2. Cambodia – Expected survey completion by 31 October 2017.
  3. Pakistan – Expected survey completion by 31 October 2017.
  4. India – Expected survey completion by 30 November 2017.
  5. Bangladesh – Expected survey completion by 30 November 2017.
  6. Nepal – RFP for fieldwork to be issued by 15 September; expected survey completion in Q1 2018.

Click here for a comprehensive list of blog-posts and other content on the topic.

[updated 11 September 2017]


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