The Republic of Korea has topped the ICT Development Index (IDI), developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the specialised agency of the United Nations for information and communications technologies.
The ITU report, entitled ‘Measuring the Information Society 2012’, was released in Geneva on 11 October. For the second year in a row, Korea was ranked as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.
IDI is a composite index that combines 11 indicators, classified under the three sub-indices of access, use, and skills, into one measure that helps monitor and compare developments in ICT across countries. The latest index ranks 155 countries regarding their ICT infrastructure and uptake.
The access sub-index measures ICT readiness and includes infrastructure and access indicators such as mobile subscriptions and percentage of households with Internet access. The use sub-index captures ICT intensity, including three indicators – percentage of Internet users, fixed-broadband subscriptions, and active mobile broadband subscriptions. The last sub-index of skills determines if countries are effectively leveraging the full potential of ICTs for socio-economic development. The sub-index includes three proxy indicators – adult literacy, gross secondary enrolment and gross tertiary enrolment.
Korea ranked first in the use and skills sub-index. The mobile-broadband and wired-broadband penetration rates were found to be very high, and 84 per cent of the population is online. The country has the highest percentage of households with Internet access worldwide - 97 per cent of households are connected to the Internet.
The report goes on to say that “the country has made ICT development a policy priority and integrated its use in many aspects of society. The Korea Communications Commission continuously works towards transforming the country into a “smart powerhouse” by effectively regulating a highly dynamic and competitive telecommunication market and pushing forward innovations and improvements.”
Eight out of the top 10 ranked countries in the IDI were European, with Korea and Japan representing Asia (Japan was ranked eighth).
Korea is globally seen as a world-leader in the field of ICT. In addition to topping ITU rankings, the country was ranked first for the second time in the United Nations’ E-Government Survey 2012, released in March, and received e-government awards for first place in three categories as part of the United Nations Public Service Day celebrations in June.