The executive summary of the recently released State of Broadband report says, “Today, almost half of the world’s population uses the Internet…” yet our national representative sample surveys confirm less than 20% of the Indian population (ages 15-65) use the Internet, and it’s less in the other Asian economies surveyed with the exception on Cambodia at 36 per cent. Considering this statistic from the second largest economy in the world, the data in the report may be pointing to subscriptions as opposed to subscribers, i.e. unique number of people which is what the Sustainable Development Goals and Broadband Commission targets are centered around.
One would expect the State of Broadband, to actually be about the state of broadband; yet, there is no mention about quality of service (QoS), a necessary condition to actually make use of the conveniences the Internet offers. LIRNEasia’s benchmarking on the quality of service experience for mobile broadband users in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Nepal and Cambodia (with the aid of Net Radar) shows the disparity of QoS in rural areas vs urban and highlights the importance of atypical measures such as congestion and latency. Benchmarking something like QoS is not easy, but if it is not addressed, it is forgotten and if it is forgotten it is not made a priority.