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 DOI : a Users' Guide

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The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) is a composite index that measures "digital opportunity" or the possibility for citizens of a particular country to benefit from access to information that is "universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable" (WSIS Tunis Commitment, para 10). It uses a range of indicators, including data on services prices and the take-up of latest ICTs, to assess countries’ performance and prospects to measure progress in building the Information Society in 180 economies worldwide. It is based on a set of eleven internationally-agreed core ICT indicators established by the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.

Source: ITU/KADO Digital Opportunity Platform

The DOI has a flexible modular structure, based on three categories (see figures above):

  • Opportunity: In order to participate in the information society, consumers must have accessibility to ICT service and must be able to afford it. The percentage of the population covered by mobile cellular telephony represents coverage (basic accessibility) while the two tariff indicators, Internet access tariffs as a percentage of per capita income and Mobile cellular tariffs as a percentage of per capita income reflect affordability.

  • Infrastructure: Includes network indicators such as the proportion of households with a fixed line telephone, mobile cellular subscribers per 100 inhabitants, proportion of households with Internet access at home and mobile Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants. It also includes the devices that provide the interface between the user and the network; here it is represented by proportion of households with a computer.

  • Utilization: Shows the extent of ICT usage and includes proportion of individuals that used the Internet. Quality reflects a level of access that enables higher degrees of functionality. This provides support for services such as video streaming that can enhance desirable information society applications such as telemedicine, e-government and e-learning. The indicator selected for this category is the ratio of broadband subscribers among Internet subscribers (separated by both fixed and mobile).

The classification is sequential, in that each category is dependent on the previous (see graph above). In order to have access to infrastructure, users must have the opportunity to be covered by the service and able to afford it. Utilization depends on having both infrastructure and an access device. Finally, given all the prerequisites for connectivity, users will then want to aspire to higher levels of quality through broadband access. The classification also reflects higher levels of access, from basic voice communications to broadband connectivity.


The core infrastructure and use of ICTs by households and individuals indicators selected for constructing the DOI lend themselves to various analytical possibilities. On one hand, the index can be deconstructed along categories such as opportunity, infrastructure and utilization. This assists analysts in determining where countries are relatively strong and weak and focusing attention on priority areas.

On the other hand, the modular structure of the DOI means that it can be split into different components, for instance between mobile and fixed networks and services (see figure below). This is important, as developing countries can be assessed on their strengths (for instance, explosive growth in mobile communications), rather than their weaknesses (such as limited fixed line infrastructure). This distinction also allows the Digital Opportunity Index to track the mobile transition and transformation of the telecom industry through wireless means of access.

Two paths to the Information Society

Source: ITU/KADO Digital Opportunity Platform                  

The popularity of mobile communications and introduction of high-speed 2.5 and 3G (third generation) services make wireless technology a key component of the information society (see graph below). Almost all of the indicators selected for the DOI have a mobile component. Some are explicit, such as mobile coverage or mobile subscribers, while others are embedded in indicators such as computers (e.g., smart phones, PDAs) or Internet subscription (which can include mobile Internet subscriptions).

Source: World Information Society Report 2006

The mobile component of the DOI allows analysis of the relative importance of each in a country’s progression to the information society. The trend toward ubiquity suggests that countries should not sacrifice one path at the expense of the other but that both should be pursued simultaneously.


More on the DOI structure & methodology


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  DOI Structure

  Category / indicator

Goal-post

Weight within category (%)

  Opportunity

 

 

Percentage of population covered by mobile cellular telephony

100

33

Mobile cellular tariffs as a percentage of per capita income

0

33

Internet access tariffs as a percentage of per capita income

0

33

  Infrastructure

 

 

Proportion of households with a fixed line telephone

100

20

Mobile cellular subscribers per 100 inhabitants

100

20

Proportion of households with Internet access at home

100

20

Mobile Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants

100

20

Proportion of households with a computer

100

20

  Utilization

 

 

Internet users per 100 inhabitants

100

33

Ratio of (Fixed) Broadband Internet subscribers to total Internet subscribers

100

33

Ratio of (Mobile) Broadband Internet subscribers to mobile Internet subscribers

100

33

Note: The indicator is divided by the goalpost to obtain the sub index value. The weighted value is obtained by multiplying the sub index by the weight shown in this table. The Digital Opportunity Index is calculated by averaging the three category scores.


Name of index (organization) Economies Indicators Latest data Comments

Digital Opportunity Index
(ITU/UNCTAD/KADO)20

180

11

2004/05

Three clusters: Utilization, Infrastructure and Opportunity

ICT Opportunity Index (ORBICOM/ITU)21

139

17

2003

Compares ‘Infostates‘, ‘Infodensity‘ and ‘InfoUse‘ against an imaginary economy called ‘Hypothetica‘.

ICT Development Index (UNCSTD)22

180

8

2003

Four clusters: Access, Connectivity, Usage and Policy.

Informational Society Index (IDC)23

52

15

2004

Only sparse methodological data is disclosed.

E-Readiness Index
(EIU/IBM)24

68

31

2004/05

Six clusters: Connectivity, Business environment, Adoption, Legal and policy environment, social and cultural environment, Supporting e-services. Uses a mix of quantitative and survey data.

Network Readiness Index (InfoDev/ WEF/INSEAD)25

102

48

2003

Three clusters: Environment, Readiness, Usage. Uses a mix of survey, qualitative and quantitative data.

Digital Access Index (ITU)26

179

8

2002

Five clusters: Infrastructure, Affordability, Knowledge, Quality, Usage.

Mobile/Internet Index (ITU)27

171

26

2001

Three clusters: Infrastructure, usage, market conditions.

Technology Achievement Index (UNDP)28

71 (full data)

8

1998-2000

Four clusters: Creation of technology, Diffusion of recent innovations, Diffusion of old innovations, Human skills.


Further, the Digital Opportunity Index includes innovative and promising new technologies, such as broadband and mobile internet. This means that the DOI can be used to assess the growth and take-up of new ICTs. It will thus remain relevant for some time to come, unlike more traditional connectivity indicators (e.g. fixed lines), which may become less and less relevant for developing countries through the expansion of mobile telephony networks, advanced wireless connectivity and own leapfrogging. The DOI is forward-looking in terms of each country’s distinctive ICT development trajectory.

Source: World Information Society Report 2006

The most popular indicator when discussing the Information Society is the proportion of the population using the Internet. As more and more countries conduct surveys on Internet usage, our understanding about how many people are accessing the Internet is improving. Even if people use the Internet from public facilities, they will be included as users. Indeed, the indicator is crucial for measuring the success of government policies in providing public Internet facilities.

Source: World Information Society Report 2006

Many of the most desirable applications envisioned for the Information Society are only possible through broadband access. This has made the availability of high-speed Internet service a key policy objective in both developed and developing nations. Two indicators are included in the DOI to measure broadband: the ratio of fixed broadband subscriptions (e.g., Digital Subscriber Lines, access over cable television networks, etc.) to total Internet subscriptions and the ratio of mobile broadband subscriptions to total mobile subscriptions.

Source: World Information Society Report 2006 

Since these ratios reflect quality of usage rather than sheer penetration, developing countries are less disadvantaged by these indicators. The proportion of fixed broadband subscriptions is used in both developed and developing countries as a policy indicator. Given the right mix of policy and regulatory encouragement, it is possible that all Internet subscriptions could eventually migrate to broadband.

 

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Updated : 2007-01-12