For the past few years, with the integration of 3G and 4G technologies we’ve been hearing that we’re moving towards the formation of Digital Pakistan but the recent study published in The Economist, an English weekly magazine, reveals that we’ve got a very far road ahead of us.
Pakistan is ranked at the 53rd position in the Inclusive Internet Index out of 75 countries. This index assesses the enabling environment for the adoption and beneficial use of the Internet in various countries. The study looks at whether people are gaining any benefit from the web, something that can’t be judged by connectivity alone.
In other words, the study revolves around availability of internet, affordability and the usage that can promote positively to social and economic outcomes. It also looks at the collective efforts government, commercial firms and civic organizations in any country.
Around 50 percent of the global population don’t have access to the internet and where out of 7 billion people in the world, only 3.3 billion are online. Thus apart from connectivity, one has to look at how the 50 percent of connected population use the digital space.
Pakistan is ranked at 54th position when it comes to Internet availability, where it stands at 60th position for usage, a category that measures the size of the population having the Internet and mobile connectivity.
We are ranked at 42nd position regarding the quality of net in the country, 63rd position for the required infrastructure to enable connectivity and 50th position for the availability of electricity.
In terms of the affordability, Pakistan is ranked at 50th place for the price related to internet connectivity and for having a competitive environment; we are placed at 39th position out of 75 available.
Regarding the existence of local and relevant content, Pakistan is placed at the 65th position where in terms of local content it is ranked at 69th position and 51st position for the presence of relevant content for Pakistanis.
The final category looks at the capacity of people who can access the Internet and also includes the availability of relevant skills, cultural acceptance of the digital world and various supporting policies.
We stand at 68th position in the literacy measures taken and the level of education people have to access and consequently benefit from the digital space. Pakistan is ranked at 62nd position for cyber safety and cultural acceptance of the internet.