Does that come as a surprise to you? Shouldn’t be.

A study by British risk analysis firm MapleCroft suggests that India has the worst digital divide among BRIC countries.

The Digital Inclusion Index, released by risk analysis firm, Maplecroft, used 10 indicators to calculate the level of digital inclusion (include numbers of mobile cellular and broadband subscriptions; fixed telephone lines; households with a PC and television; internet users and secure internet servers; internet bandwidth; secondary education enrolment; and adult literacy) and India stood at 39 and is classified as “extreme risk” meaning that the country’s population suffers from a severe lack of digital inclusion.

Of the BRICs nations, India (39) is the only country to be classified as ‘extreme risk’, meaning that the country’s population suffers from a severe lack of digital inclusion. China (103) Brazil (110) and Russia (134) are rated ‘medium risk’. Despite huge economic growth, the BRICs nations are still significantly outperformed by developed nations in the Digital Inclusion Index. The countries with the best access to ICTs are the Netherlands (186), Denmark (185), Luxembourg (184), Sweden (183) and the UK (182). Trends suggest that the BRICs nations may not lag behind for much longer however.

The BRICs have witnessed huge growth in demand for ICTs, which is currently driving global spending for the sector. China has the highest total number of internet users in the world (420 million), accounting for just over half of Asia’s internet users and is set to become the world’s largest ICT market, whilst India, Brazil and Russia have all seen huge expansion in demand and market size for ICT’s in recent years. The distribution of ICT use in these nations and other developing countries is cause for concern however.

In India, for example, the wealthier, more affluent segment of the population, primarily based in urban areas, has embraced the use of modern communications technology. The growth of the middle classes in the country, which now sits at around 30% of the population, has driven demand for consumer goods, including ICTs. The vast majority of the population has, however, been excluded from this process. Most cannot afford ICTs (only 3% of households own PCs), lack the education required to use it effectively (India has secondary school enrolment rates of 55% and adult literacy rates of just under 63%) and are located in geographical areas that have little or no connectivity to ICT services. Although the division between those who can access ICT and those who cannot is less severe in the other BRICs nations, this trend is reflected throughout them all. [source]

The countries with the best access to communications technologies included the Netherlands which was top at 186, Sweden at 183 and Britain came in 182nd.


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