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India stood at the 44th position among 50 different countries in a Global Connectivity Index (GCI) report (pdf) compiled by Huawei. The top spot has been taken by the US followed by Singapore. Among neighboring countries, Bangladesh stood at second last position (49th), Pakistan stood in the last position (50th), and China stood at the 23rd position.

According to Huawei, the GCI score for each country has been calculated on the basis of its ICT infrastructure including broadband, data centers, cloud services, big data and IoT. The GCI findings from 50 countries account for about 90% of the global GDP, and 78% of the global population, added the report. Huawei claims that the GCI also includes survey results from 3,000 firms across 10 verticals in 10 nations.

India on the Global Connectivity Index

India has a GCI score of 30, this puts the country among ‘Starters’ who are still working on building a reliable connectivity, and on spreading the connection base. According to Huawei, India should be focusing on speeding up its National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) broadband connectivity project that aims to connect 90,000 villages by 2017.

Other strategies for increasing mobile broadband supply would further increase demand in the nation. Huawei adds that both the public and private sectors needs to invest in their networks to serve the growing subscriber base, and provide universal broadband access with digital literacy programs to close the rural-urban divide.

How the GCI is calculated

The methodology for calculating GCI broadly includes four different ‘vertical indicators’ as identified by Huawei which includes Supply, Demand, Experience and Potential. Supply measures current levels of supply of ICT products and services. Demand considers ‘people’s desire for connectivity’ and how they use it. Experience analyzes connectivity experience that end users and organization receives. Potential includes a set of indicators that points out the future development of a digital economy.

The implications of GCI: By analyzing the relationships between the above parameters with a country’s GDP, Huawei further categorizes the 50 countries among Starters (<35 score) , Adopters (35-55), and Frontrunners (>55). ‘Starters‘ are countries still working  on bringing connectivity to more people, ‘Adopters‘ work on increasing connectivity demand in the economy and, Frontrunners are those countries that have markets saturated with basic services providers.

MediaNama’s Take: Considering various setbacks including call drops, abysmal state of internet speeds; it isn’t surprising that India has been ranked at 44 with a GCI score of 30. NOFN and other broadband initiatives by the different states needs to apprehend reliability as well, in order to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban reaches.

More importantly, LTE spectrum like the 800Mhz, and the BWA spectrum could be sold a lower reserve price, rather selling it at exorbitant rates as suggested by the TRAI this year. Further, the greens signal towards selling liberalized spectrum by the cabinet might need some tweaks regarding pricing as RCom had to pay a whopping Rs 1,3000 crore for the 800 Mhz band in just four circles. While during the 2015 spectrum auction, RCom had acquired the same 800 Mhz spectrum for Rs 1991 crore in 10 different circles.

Image source: Flickr user Pulpolux!! under CC BY-NC 2.0