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NY Times Grossly Misreads WEF Report

Brough Turner

Today's New York Times includes an article by John Markoff entitled "Study Gives High Marks to US Internet." But either John Markoff is fuzzy about exactly what the Internet is or he didn't actually read the report. His title is way off base. He did interview a few people who are quoted in the latter part of the article, so there is some information in the article. But he's done a major disservice for the many who read only the title or perhaps first paragraph.

The study in question is the Global Information Technology Report recently published by the World Economic Forum TED-Conference-Preview. While the printed report costs money, the summary is online and an interactive version gives access to all their data.

This is a report on information technology not specifically on the Internet (just look at the title). The researchers measured 68 different attributes of information technology, only a few of which directly pertain to the Internet, e.g.

AttributeUS Rank
Internet users (per 100 pop.)     7
Internet access in schools    12
Broadband Internet subscribers    17
Internet bandwidth    19

To his credit, the first section of the report is about "network readiness" and the US is ranked #4, however the study's definition of network readiness includes all sorts of features of the broad business environment Anger-Management, regulatory aspects and computing infrastructure.

Prior to this, I remember John Markoff only for the book Takedown, which I enjoyed.reading even though my sympathies were with Kevin Mitnick. :-) So this article is a major disappointment.

Here are the 68 attributes the World Economic Forum study examines:

By Brough Turner, Founder & CTO at netBlazr. More blog posts from Brough Turner can also be read here.

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Telecom

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