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23 Countries Ahead of U.S. in Internet Usage According to ITU Broadband Report

United States ranks 24th worldwide in the percentage of residents who use the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union's 2013 State of Broadband Report, released recently at a meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Eighty-one percent of U.S. residents use the Internet, the ITU said.

Countries with the highest percentage of people using the Internet was Iceland, where 97 percent of the people are Internet users. The top 10 countries all had usage rates above 88 percent.

Percentage of Individuals Using the Internet, Worldwide, 2012 – Source: The State of Broadband 2013 - Universalizing Broadband by the Broadband Commission, September 2013 (e - ITU Estimates)

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Telecom

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Share your comments

This information is a joke Anthony Rutkowski  –  Oct 01, 2013 12:32 PM PDT

The ITU Broadband Report and its variants over the decades have always been a joke.  For several years, my staff at the ITU was responsible for putting this material together, as it was mandated by the ITU's principal political forum.  It is meaningless for several reasons. 

First, the source data as indicated on the ITU's website is:

...collected from an annual questionnaire sent to official country contacts, usually the regulatory authority or the ministry in charge of telecommunication and ICT. Additional data are obtained from reports provided by telecommunication ministries, regulators and operators and from ITU staff reports.

Second, there is no actual rigorous methodology to the compilation.  It is "garbage in, garbage out." The work is done by staff who have to accept what they receive.  The data is driven by political optics not statistical or technical rigor.  There is no real definition of key terms like "use" or "Internet."

The reality is that any national administration can file whatever statistics they wished to the ITU and it is by definition, "authoritative." Some of the abuses have been legendary.  This reality led over the years to private organizations supplanting the ITU material which is largely ignored except for rhetorical gestures.  Perhaps the most prominent of these trusted sources is TeleGeography.  The CIA World Factbook is also a trusted source.  Intergovernmental political organizations like the ITU, UNESCO, or the UN are inherently untrusted because of the basis for their receiving and publishing information.

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