Pakistan is ranked at the 68th place out of 86 countries surveyed, on the Inclusive Internet Index due to low mobile usage combined with gender disparities for both internet and mobile access. We fall behind India, Srilanka, Iran, and Bangladesh. Our score is worse than Nigeria, the country at the top of the world’s extreme poverty status.
We stand even below then the world’s top country with extreme poverty, Nigeria.
The Inclusive Internet Index is a project of Facebook and The Economist Intelligence Unit. It seeks to measure the extent to which the Internet is not only accessible and affordable but also explores how Internet use impacts people’s work, social life, entertainment and shopping habits, and their sense of independence and autonomy.
On the ‘availability of internet’ ranking chart, the country is at the 77th place, the worst in Asia.
Last year, Pakistan ranking was at the 53rd position out of the 75 countries taken for the survey for Inclusive Internet Index. Pakistan is at number 4 in the world having one of the largest offline population, 158.5 million people have no access to the internet at all.
According to the survey, men are 33.5% more likely to have Internet access than women, and this gap is substantially more noticeable in lower-income countries. Pakistan is ranked the lowest worldwide in gender access parity with 266% gap in internet access rates and 121.2% gap in mobile ownership in favor of men.
English may be the dominant language of the internet, but non-English-speaking countries in both the developed and the developing world have made progress in ensuring that domestic internet users have content available to them in their country’s primary language. Unfortunately, Pakistan has minimal of such content online.
Imposing a 19.5% internet tax on mobile data and a broadband connection has made the affordability a dream. Despite all the recoil country is facing, there is a noteworthy project known as Punjab Free WiFi access which still is just a drop in the ocean.
The ability to have the Internet should not be a luxury. As governments and companies rush to do more and more online, the question of Internet inclusion becomes critical to ensure the gains are universally available and equally shared.