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South Korea tops 'Information Society' Report

[ 2011-09-19 11:02]     字号 [] [] []  
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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

Falling prices are fueling growth in high-speed Internet services, especially in developing countries. Last week the International Telecommunication Union released its "Measuring the Information Society 2011" report. The ITU, part of the United Nations, compared access, use and skills in 152 countries.

The report says South Korea has the world's most developed economy in information and communication technology, or ICT. Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland were also among the top five in the ICT Development Index. The index compares 2008 and 2010 scores.

Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Vietnam and Russia had some of the biggest improvements between those years.

Susan Teltscher is head of the ICT Data and Statistics Division at the International Telecommunication Union in Switzerland. She says most of the growth in this industry has come from one source.

SUSAN TELTSCHER: "Mobile broadband is now leading the growth race among the different ICT indicators -- much higher than the other key indicators that we look at, like regular mobile phone subscriptions, fixed telephone or fixed broadband. Mobile broadband is really the most dynamic sector right now. And the good news is that it's also starting to grow in developing countries."

Mobile broadband subscriptions reached 872 million by the end of last year. Three hundred million of those are in developing countries. Ms Teltscher says growth in these countries can help reduce the digital divide with wealthier societies.

SUSAN TELTSCHER: "If we can bring Internet over the mobile phones, then we can really make a difference in terms of improving Internet access also in developing countries."

She says falling prices are adding to the growth.

SUSAN TELTSCHER: "Especially in the broadband area, the prices dropped by over 20 percent between 2008 and 2010-- which is a very encouraging finding because this was primarily drops in the developing countries."

Even so, the report says people in many low-income countries are still paying too much for high-speed Internet connections. In Africa, for example, broadband service for a home or office cost almost three times an average monthly income last year. That was down from six and a half times as much in 2008.

Also, there are big differences in broadband speed and quality from country to country.

National levels of technology development have traditionally been closely linked to national income levels. But Susan Teltscher at the ITU says a strong public policy on technology has made a difference in South Korea.

SUSAN TELTSCHER: "If you look at their income level and what they have been achieving in terms of ICT development, it's actually higher than what you would expect given their national income."

South Korea has the fourth largest economy in Asia.

And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.

broadband: a transmission technique using a wide range of frequencies that enables messages to be sent simultaneously, used in fast Internet connections 宽带

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(来源:VOA 编辑:张若琼)