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India least network ready among BRIC nations

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Though the corridors of Indian ICT industry is blowing its own trumpet for quite some time now riding high on the success of its software exports, global footprint, mobile telephony, the latest report from World Economic Forum reveals a harsher reality.

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India slips by 5 places to 48th rank in the Network Readiness Index of WEF's Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011. The country was ranked 43rd for 2009-2010 for the same index. Though India is being compared with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India & China) on many fronts like gross GDP, economy, rate of growth etc in the recent past, the WEF report suggests the country is least network ready among its BRIC counterparts. Except India, the three other countries have improved their NRI rank from the previous year.

China has moved one rank higher to be placed at 36th for 2010-2011 from 37th previous year. Similarly, Brazil jumped five steps up to be placed at 56th from 61st and Russia moved three steps higher to sit at 77th position in 2010-2011 compared to its 80th position the previous year.

The country has fared poorly on almost all criteria included in the NRI to check the network readiness of a country. India's placement is dragged down by its poor marks in most education-related variables included in the NRI, and more generally by the poor quality of its soft and hard infrastructures (81st). On the other hand, notwithstanding widespread red tape and distortive taxes, the market environment is assessed rather positively at 41st, thanks to a sophisticated financial market, well developed clusters, and widespread availability of new technologies. Also competition and low telephony costs are a boost to India's readiness (33rd). The country ranks an impressive 21st for its level of individual readiness and 33rd for that of businesses. Government readiness is still high (47th), but ICT seems to have become less of a priority since last year. Also individual usage is improving, although from a very low base (98th, 11 places up from last year). While Internet access remains limited (0.65 and 5.12 per 100 population broadband Internet subscribers and Internet users, respectively, corresponding to a 100th and 118th position in the sample), mobile telephony has been growing exponentially as a result of strong demand, increased purchasing power, and also fierce competition and innovation that helped to improve network coverage and drive prices down.

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Looking at the global telecom scenario, among the 138 countries reviewed by WEF, India ranks 104th in terms of mobile network coverage, though the country has been consistently adding more than 15 million new mobile users every month. It also ranked 95th in terms of providing international Internet bandwidth but it fared even poorly in offering a secured internet service, where it was ranked 104th.

gyanas@cybermedia.co.in

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