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6th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting

Geneva, Switzerland, 13-15 December 2007

ITU Tower, Room B


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ITU News reports on the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting

Final Report/Conclusions

The ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) organized its sixth World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators (WTI) Meeting from 13-15 of December, 2007, at its headquarters in Geneva. This year’s meeting focused on three main topics:

  1. The single ITU index: Through Resolution 131 of the 2006 Plenipotentiary Conference, ITU Membership called for the development of a singe ITU index to measure countries' progress towards becoming information societies. To this end, ITU prepared a background document with a proposal on index methodology and indicators. The meeting made a number of recommendations regarding the single ITU index, including on the index methodology and the choice of indicators to compute the index. It was suggested to discuss and finalize the technical and methodological aspects of the Index by a group of experts, including experts from member states. To this end, a discussion forum was set up.
  2. New indicators: Given the rapidly changing nature of the telecommunication/ICT sector, there is a constant need to update and review existing indicators. As part of the session on new indicators, developments in the area of mobile/wireless broadband measurement were discussed. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is currently working on a harmonized definition to measure ‘wireless broadband’ uptake was invited to share its experience. A number of measurement issues were pointed out, including the distinction between potential and active mobile broadband subscribers. Current trends suggest that mobile broadband will be an important way of access in developing countries. ITU will continue to cooperate with the OECD to maximize international comparability of data.  
  3. Community Access Indicators: Since the vast majority of households in developing nations do not have modern ICTs such as computers and the Internet, community access plays an important role in providing citizens with access to ICTs. The recognition that traditional indicators (such as fixed telephone lines and mobile subscribers) alone are not sufficient to identify the extent of the digital divide has highlighted the need to measure community or public access to ICTs. The meeting suggested a number of indicators to measure community access, including tracking the percentage of localities (villages, towns etc)
    • with a public Internet access centre and
    • connected to the public telephone network (fixed and/or mobile)

    This information will also help track the targets identified by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), including the WSIS’s call to “ensure that more than half the world’s inhabitants have access to ICTs within their reach”. The meeting encouraged especially developing countries to carry out surveys to find out how many people are making use of public access facilities.

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