Lebanon lags in global index on infotech access
Country ranks just 65th of 178
Tarek El Zein
Daily Star staff
Dec. 01, 2003
Lebanon currently ranks 65th among 178 countries in the first global index on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) access, according to report published in late November.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said in a report that measures the overall ability of individuals to access and use ICTs in the different countries. Nations were classified into four “digital access categories,” namely high, upper, medium and low.
Lebanon ranked 5th in the medium access category after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait by scoring 0.48 out of a maximum score of one.
Worldwide, Lebanon ranked after Belarus and before Thailand, Romania and Turkey. Sweden was classified as the most technologically advanced ICT country with a score of 0.85, while Nigeria was labeled as the worst with 0.04.
“The study has gone beyond the organization’s traditional focus on telecommunication infrastructure, such as mobile phones and fixed telephone lines,” according to the report. “It combines eight variables, covering five areas, to provide an overall country score,” it said. The areas covered are the availability of infrastructure, affordability of access, educational level, quality of ICT services and internet usage.
“Many have used ICTs as a development enabler and government policies have helped them reach an impressive level of ICT access,” the report added. These policies, according to ITU, include major ICT projects such as the Dubai Internet City in the UAE (the highest ranking Arab nation), the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia (the highest ranking developing Asian nation) and the Cyber City in Mauritius (the highest standing African nation). “The Digital Access Index will be a useful tool for tracking the future advance of these ambitious emerging markets,” said the report.
In the next study, Lebanon could gain some momentum by launching some long awaited projects, such as the construction of the Beirut Emerging Technology Zone in Damour and the introduction of the Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) service.
As for the ADSL broadband project, the director-general at the Telecommunications Ministry, Naji Andraos, told The Daily Star that two internet nodes are currently being built to boost Lebanon’s bandwidth from an estimated 72 to 152 mega bits per second.
The Daily Star