Trends in Global Telecommunications
Telecommunication exists everywhere, -- at home, at work, at school, and even in cars - so it would be extremely difficult for anyone to be unaware of the popular trends in existing and emerging telecommunications technologies. In realizing these trends, past and present telecommunications technologies must be examined along with the measures currently being taken to improve them so that future trends can be predicted and developed.
WORLD TELECOMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT REPORT
The International Telecommunications Union recently released a World Telecommunication Development Report (WDTR), which offers guidance on how to measure information and communication technology (ICT) access around the world. The report points out that there is a gap between digital and statistical data "within and between richer and poorer nations" (Minges et al). Michael Minges, the report's lead author, states in it that poor economies are ignored when Internet user surveys are conducted. He goes on to say that governments must become more actively involved in measuring access to ICTs in their respective nations in order to rise above the "data divide". The report listed twenty-three e-ITU indicators, assembled by the International Telecommunications Union, that are based on the results of existing data and new analyses and surveys. The list could be considered as a global standard for accumulating equivalent data to keep tabs on how the information society is developing globally (see Table 1 for the list of indicators).
Table 1: The e-ITU Indicators
1Percentage of households with electricity13Student to computer ratio
2Percentage of households with a radio14Percentage of schools with Internet access
3Percentage of households with a television15Percentage of government offices with Internet access
4Percentage of households with a telephone16Percentage of government offices with a website
5Percentage of households with a personal computer17Percentage of government employees with Internet access
6Percentage of households with Internet access18Main telephone lines per 100 inhabitants
7Percentage of population covered by mobile telephony19Mobile cellular subscribers per 100 inhabitants
8Percentage of population that use a computer20Internet access tariff (20 hours/month) as percentage of per capita income
9Percentage of population with access to the Internet21International Internet bandwidth per inhabitant
10Percentage of businesses with computers22Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants
11Percentage of businesses with Internet access23Internet users per 100 inhabitants
12Percentage of businesses with a website
Source: ITU World Telecommunication Development Report 2003
In 2000, heads of state established the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The ultimate end of these goals is to eliminate hunger, disease, poverty, and other serious social and socio-economic issues (Minges et al). The ICTs could provide an avenue for achieving the MDGs if the indicators are applied correctly to the appropriate goals. From the information given in the report, one of the most important of the Millennium Development Goals seemed to be education improvement - specifically, the training of teachers using information and communications technologies. Table 2 highlights a small selection of the Millennium Development Goals and the potential impact that those MDGs could receive from information and communications technologies.
Table 2: How ICTs Can Impact the MDGs
Goal 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hungerIncrease in income from ICTsA 1999 study of Village Pay Phone (VPP) owners in Bangladesh found that profits from providing phone service constitutes 24% of these households' total income.
Goal 2. Achieve universal primary educationPrimary school teachers trained by ICT-based educationIn Nepal, 4'430...
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