There are lots different indices which rank the world's countries according to their level of penetration of ICTs, or their e-readiness. But until now there has been no agreement on what indicators to include, or what methodology to use. Now, in the framework of the implementation of the WSIS Plan of Action, a new methodology, prepared by Michael Minges of TMG Inc on behalf of ITU, has been released for developing a composite "Digital Opportunity Index". This new methodology is based on the core list of indicators agreed by the "Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development" of UN agencies at their meeting on 7-9 February 2005.
The draft methodology is structured around eleven indicators in four clusters:
- Affordability and coverage: Mobile phone coverage and tariff baskets for mobiles and Internet access.
- Access path and device: Penetration of fixed-lines, mobile phones and PCs.
- Infrastructure: Fixed and mobile Internet subscribers and international Internet bandwidth per inhabitant.
- Quality: Penetration of fixed and mobile broadband subscribers.
The index has been developed according to a modular methodology, so that it can be easily extended, adpated for national use, or used alongside other indices, such as the UNDP's Human Development Index. As a proof-of-concept, the methodology has been applied to 40 leading economies, with Sweden, Denmark, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Hong Kong-China appearing in the top five. The index will be further discussed at the WSIS Thematic Meeting on "Multi-stakeholder partnerships for bridging the digital divide", to be held on 23-24 June 2005, in Seoul, Republic of Korea.