KARACHI: The Digital Rights Foundation released a video detailing how Pakistan ranks the lowest in South Asia and second-lowest in all of Asia in the Inclusive Internet Index Rankings 2021. The Inclusive Internet Index is conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and is commissioned by Facebook. Pakistan dropped a rank further at 90 as opposed to 2020’s rank at 89.
The video posted by The Digital Rights Foundation explained what the score was based on. It included:
- Availability that refers to the internet infrastructure as well as the quality of the internet across the country. As per the report, Pakistan ranks 97th in this regard.
- Affordability that refers to the cost of access. Pakistan ranked 67th.
- Relevance that determines if the online content is easily available in local languages. Pakistan ranked 91st in this regard.
- Readiness looks into the literacy rate, skill level and cultural attitudes towards the internet and technology. Pakistan ranked 79th.
The foundation went on to explain what this all means for Pakistan. It explained that the availability of the internet in Pakistan is alarmingly low. Pakistan does not have the proper infrastructure to provide a strong internet connection to users. Even if the internet is accessible to users, digital literacy is also extremely low which means that people do not have the means to understand the digital world or know how to make it work for them. And in order to bridge this gap, commenters have said that the changes that need to come have to be on a policy level considering the fact that a large portion of the population is still using basic devices and devices that only support 2G.
On the other hand, the Inclusive Internet Index 2021 report revealed that the top performers in South Asia included India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ranking at 52nd, 77th and 83rd, respectively, while USA and Sweden are competing for the top rank.