Qatar among top 10 'online countries'
Doha, September 30, 2013
Qatar has been ranked 10th for the percentage of individuals using the internet in the country, according to a UN Broadband Commission report.
The 2013 edition of the State of Broadband Report stated that Iceland was ranked first on the list, followed by Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland, New Zealand and Liechtenstein. Bahrain ranked 11th and UAE was placed in the 17th position.
It said that there are more than 70 countries where over 50 per cent of the population is online.
The report, released in New York at the eighth meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, revealed that mobile broadband subscriptions which allow users to access the web via smartphones, tables and wifi-connected laptops are growing at a rate of 30 per cent per year.
By the end of 2013 there will be more than three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions, it said.
The State of Broadband is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data measuring broadband access against the four key targets set by the 60 members of the Broadband Commission in 2011.
“The new analysis in this year’s report shows progress in broadband availability, but we must not lose sight of those who are being left behind,” said ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I Touré, who serves as co-vice chair of the Commission with Unesco director-general Irina Bokova.
“While more and more people are coming online, over 90 per cent of people in the world’s 49 least developed countries remain totally unconnected. Technology combined with relevant content and services can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment,” said Dr Touré.
For the first time, the report also tracks a new target mandating ‘gender equality in broadband access by the year 2020.’ ITU figures confirm that, worldwide, women are less likely to have access to technology than their male counterparts. While the gap is relatively small in the developed world, it widens enormously as average income levels fall.
A separate report of the Commission’s Working Group on Gender, led by UNDP administrator Helen Clark, was also released at the meeting.
A new Working Group on Financing was also established, which will strive to identify potential solutions to broadband investment to help countries accelerate progress towards targets. The group will deliver its first findings to the Commission at the next meeting in March 2014 in Dubin. - TradeArabia News Service
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