The ITU has just released a report titled Measuring the Information Society, which features in ICT Development Index that measures the use of information and communications technologies in more than 150 countries worldwide. Most notably, the report compares progress between 2002 (the last similar report) and 2007.
The ITU data supports what many in Canada have sensed – we are failing to keep pace with many other countries with significant declines in key areas that will have long-term effects on our ability to compete. In the primary ICT Development Index, Canada ranks 19th worldwide, down from 9th in 2002. Canada's absolute number increased over the five years (ie. ICT use increased), but at a slower rate of growth than many other countries. No country in the top 50 declined as rapidly as Canada as we were passed by the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, many Asian countries (Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong), and European nations (UK, Luxembourg, Germany, Ireland).
The decline in a sub-index on ICT use is even more dramatic. The sub-index measures Internet user penetration, fixed broadband penetration, and mobile broadband penetration. Canada ranked 4th worldwide in 2002. By 2007, we dropped to 21st worldwide. While the survey also includes data suggesting that Canada has relatively inexpensive fixed broadband (2nd worldwide), the declining numbers are consistent with other studies that indicate that any advantages that Canada had in the late 1990s have long since disappeared.