Qatar has become one of the most digitally developed countries in the region, and has performed exceptionally well —number one — in terms of Internet readiness, policy support and adaptability of new technology, in a latest study by a globally renowned research and analysis firm.

Qatar ranks 2nd in the region and 28th globally in the overall ranking, in the Inclusive Internet Index prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit (TheEIU), a research division of the London-based Economist Group.  Only Kuwait (24th) is above Qatar in the region, while other countries such as the UAE (38th), Bahrain (41st) Saudi Arabia (43rd) trailing far behind Qatar.

In terms of Internet ‘readiness’ Qatar has topped in the world among 100 countries studied for the index.  The ‘readiness’ category examines the capacity to access the Internet, including skills, cultural acceptance, and supporting policy.

In the overall ranking of the Inclusive Internet Index, Sweden, New Zealand and the United States have occupied the top three positions, respectively.

Other parameters/categories evaluated for the index include Literacy, Availability, and Affordability. Literacy measures the level of education and preparedness to use the Internet.

Qatar has secured 11th position in the Internet ‘Availability’ category globally, which is essentially a remarkable performance. Many advanced economies such as the United States (16th), France (17th) and Germany (20th) are not in top 10 in this category’s list. The ‘Availability’ category examines the quality and breadth of existing infrastructure required for access and levels of Internet usage.

In terms of ‘Affordability’ or price of the Internet service, Qatar has stood at 42nd position. This relatively low ranking in the world is understandably due to small market size and low competitive environment as there are only two players.  Price measures the cost of Internet access relative to income.

The Affordability category measures the competitive environment and the concentration of the marketplace for Internet service provision.

In a separate study released in December last year, Qatar topped the region and stood second globally in terms of mobile Internet speed. The country had ranked second in the global mobile broadband speed test in November, in Ookla’s Global Speed Test Index.

The average download speed in Qatar was 77.07 Mbps in November while the upload speed was 21.49 Mbps. The internet speed in Qatar is more than double of the global average download speed.  The global average download speed was 30.93Mbps in November while the upload speed was 11.88Mbps.

Qatar has emerged as one of leading countries in the world in terms of acceptability and adapting new technologies, innovation and system automation. As a result, the size of the local IT market is witnessing one of the fastest growth rates in the region, which is expected to cross over QR4bn (annually), a local industry expert told this newspaper earlier.

Source : The Peninsula

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