Netherlands ranks 6th among world’s most advanced ICT economies

A new ITU report ranked the Netherlands 6th in the ranking of the most advanced ICT economies in the world.

The Netherlands moved up from 7th place last year to 6th place in 2012. An average of 73 percent of European households have access to the Internet. In the Netherlands it’s even 94 percent of households.

New figures released by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) show that information and communication technology (ICT) uptake continues to grow worldwide, spurred by a steady fall in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services.

The new data, released in ITU’s flagship annual report Measuring the Information Society 2012, rank the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and the Netherlands.

Of the ten top-ranked countries, eight are from Europe. The two remaining countries both come from the Asia-Pacific region, with the Republic of Korea in first place, and Japan ranked 8th. The top five countries have not changed their rank between 2010 and 2011. The only new entrant in the top ten is the UK, which moved up from 14th place last year to 9th place in 2012.

ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI)* ranks 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2010 and 2011 scores. All countries in the IDI top 30 are high-income countries, underlining the strong link between income and ICT progress.

There are large differences between developed and developing countries, with IDI values on average twice as high in the developed world compared with developing countries. The report identifies the group of countries with the lowest IDI levels – so-called ‘Least Connected Countries’ – and highlights the need for policy makers to pay keen attention to this group.

“ITU’s Measuring the Information Society report is the most comprehensive statistical and analytical report on the shape of ICT markets worldwide. Our reputation as a wholly impartial and reliable source of ICT market statistics makes this report the annual industry benchmark for technology development,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré.

The report also shows that the ICT sector has become a major contributor to economic growth. In 2010, global exports of ICT goods accounted for 12% of world merchandise trade, and as much as 20% in developing countries.

ITU data show that global revenues from telecommunication services reached USD 1.5 trillion in 2010, corresponding to 2.4 % of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). In the same year, investment (measured by capital expenditure) in telecommunications amounted to more than USD 241 billion, or an estimated 2% of the world’s total gross fixed capital formation.

The figures highlight the important role developing countries are playing in terms of telecommunication revenues and investments, particularly during the recent economic crisis. Between 2007 and 2010, both telecom revenues and investment continued to grow by 22% in developing countries, whereas revenues stagnated in developed countries. Developing countries are also increasingly attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecommunications.

By beginning 2011, nine of the top 20 telecom markets globally in terms of revenues were developing country markets – including Brazil, China, India and Mexico – and developing countries accounted for 35% of world telecommunication revenue.

At the same time, ITU research and data suggest that developing countries need a relatively higher level of investment in advanced ICT services to fuel growth, mainly because ICT infrastructure levels are still limited.

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