Pakistan is ranked fourth in terms of broadband Internet growth in the world, as the subscriber base of broadband Internet has been increasing rapidly with the total base crossing 170,000 in the country. The rankings are released by Point Topic Global broadband analysis, a global research centre. According to the statistics, there are around 382. 4 million broadband subscribers worldwide by the end of August 2008 as compared with 317 million in August 2007, showing 17 percent growth. Regional Broadband trend revealed that Western Europe has the largest share of broadband users with 26 percent followed by North America at 22 percent.
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet now at Google, appears to see a key role for the mobile especially in developing countries. ACM: Ubiquity – Cerf’s Up Again! — A New Ubiquity Interview with Vint Cerf CERF: Well, certainly that has happened in the sense that the mobile telephony has allowed the provision of communication services, and let me include in that Internet access, in places where it was very difficult to obtain that service before. And so, I think roughly the number of telephone terminations has more than doubled in the last five years. It’s gone from a little over a billion to a little over 2.
Rohan Samarajiva chaired the Universal, Ubiquitous, Equitable and Affordable session at the ITU World 2006 that raised some fundamental questions about Universal Service Obligation (USO) programs around the world. Rohan introduced the topic [PDF] drawing from LIRNEasia‘s recent Shoestrings II study on telephone use at the “bottom of the pyramid.” The first Keynote speaker, Zhengmao Li, VP China Unicom, described the efforts of the Chinese govt and his company in building a harmonious digital society. Thanks to the govt’s policy to provide access to ICTs on an equitable and affordable basis, more than 97 percent of administrative villages in China have a phone. The second Keynote speaker, Tom Philips, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSM Association forcefully argued that USO programs in most parts of the world have not resulted in improved access but have rather harmed the objective of connecting those who currently do not have access.