New ITU tools to foster digital development

Data is critical to our goal of connecting the world. It tells us where we were, where we are, what works and what doesn’t. It is a key ingredient of empirical research for establishing correlation, determining causality, identifying good practices, and formulating policy recommendations.

Since the advent of the Internet, data volumes have grown exponentially. And yet, reliable and meaningful data remain surprisingly scant, because producing such data is often complex, costly, and time-consuming.

To enhance its offerings, ITU has released three new tools: an online training course; a new edition of ICT price trends; and the Digital Development Dashboard.

Developing statistical capacity

ITU is responsible for setting the international statistical standards for ICT indicators. The Manual for measuring ICT access and use by households and individuals and the Handbook for the collection of administrative data on telecommunications/ICT describe approximately the 200 or so standards maintained by ITU.

These publications are complemented by capacity development activities on the ground. To reach a broader audience, ITU is also creating several online training courses on ICT statistics. The first, Measuring digital development: Telecommunication/ICT Indicators, is now available for free on the ITU Academy platform.

Tracking the cost of connectivity

The cost of connecting to the Internet partly is one of the key reasons why some 3.7 billion people are still offline and prevents many of the 4 billion who are connected from harnessing the potential of the Internet.

The 2020 edition of ICT price trends provides analyses and compares prices of key ICT services for more than 200 economies, providing unique insights on the status of ICT affordability.

The report takes stock of progress towards the UN Broadband Commission’s affordability target for 2025, according to which entry-level broadband services – i.e., the cheapest data-only broadband mobile or fixed subscription available – should amount to less than two per cent of monthly gross national income (GNI) per capita.

The report features new measures of affordability that reveal vast disparities within countries: even where the target has been met at country level, services often remain unaffordable for the 40 per cent poorest.

As a complement to the report, a new ICT price app enables users to compare prices of various ICT services across countries and regions and visualise trends going back 10 years.

ICT price trends follow a massive data collection effort by ITU, its Member States, and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

Making data more accessible

Hidden data cannot create impact.

The Dashboard features 37 indicators related to infrastructure and access, Internet use, and enablers and barriers. It presents 10-year trends and comparisons with regional peers. A ‘light’ version is available for mobile and low-resolution devices, while two-page country profiles can be downloaded as PDFs. The underlying data can also be downloaded in Excel format.

ITU welcome your feedback and suggestions on the dashboard. Your input will help inform their future data dissemination strategy.

Be sure to check out other resources such as the ITU statistics website, the ICT Eye platform, and the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database.


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