By Jose Ramon G. Albert, Ramonette B. Serafica, and Beverly T. Lumbera
via Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Republic of the Philippines
Image Attribute: Metro Manila Skyline / Source: Wikimedia Commons
In the 2015 Measuring the Information Society Report, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) provides an Information and communications technology (ICT) development index (IDI) in 2013 and 2014 for 167 countries.
The IDI combines 11 indicators that measure access, use, and skills into one composite measure to monitor and compare developments in ICT among countries over time. South Korea tops the IDI, followed by Denmark and Iceland. In Asia Pacific, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Australia, and New Zealand ranked highest in IDI after South Korea. The IDI exhibits a correlation with many MDG indicators, but illustrates a divide in ICT development between developed and developing countries, with the gap more pronounced in the availability and uptake of wireless broadband and fixed broadband services.
Figure 1 : Internet penetration in ASEAN economies, 2000–2014
The Philippines improved its IDI ranking from 105 (in 2014) to 98 in the previous year, and is ranked 15th across Asia Pacific, following Singapore (ranked 19 globally, 6 in Asia Pacific), Malaysia (ranked 64 globally, 8 in Asia Pacific), Brunei Darussalam (ranked 71 globally, 9 in Asia Pacific), and Thailand (ranked 74 globally, 10 in Asia Pacific). The Philippines has slightly overtaken Viet Nam (ranked 102, from 94 in the previous year).
Like many countries, the Philippines has improved its access to mobiles and subscription of fixed broadband. Telephone density, measured as the number of fixed telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, however, has remained at an average of 3 subscriptions per 100 persons in recent years (Figure 2). Fixed broadband subscription per 100 population increased to 23.22 per 100 persons in 2014 from 0.14 in 2005. The rate of increase was steepest in 2011 when it surged by nearly four times the previous year.
In 2012, mobile subscriptions surpassed the total number of persons in the Philippines as many Filipinos have multiple mobile subscriptions. In addition, there is over-counting of mobile subscriptions with each telecommunication company (hereinafter “telco” or “telcos”) claiming market dominance, not paying attention to whether subscriptions are active. Over-counting could be prevented through full registration of cellular subscribers, to include prepaid ones, and full implementation of a national ID system.
Figure 2: Selected ICT statistics in the Philippines, 2005–2014
Similar trends in ICT development are seen in the networked readiness index (NRI), which is released by the World Economic Forum, in the Global Information Technology Report. The NRI is based on 53 individual indicators spread across four main categories, namely, environment, readiness, usage, and impact.
Globally, Singapore topped all countries in the NRI. The Philippines trails behind Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Thailand. Its standing has improved in recent years, slightly surpassing Indonesia’s.
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