Internet connectivity is supposedly on the rise in Pakistan especially with the advent of 3G and 4G services in the country. The internet connectivity and gender parity is definitely on the rise in the country, but according to the Inclusive Internet Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Pakistan still has a long way to go.
On the index Pakistan has ranked 68th out of the 86 countries that were surveyed. Pakistan on the index ranks lower than India, Iran, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. On the index, Pakistan scored a mean score of 54.5 relative to the South Asian average of 61.
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One of the main reasons Pakistan scored less on the index is due to the unavailability of content in the local language. In the third quarter of the fiscal year of 2017-18, State Bank of Pakistan stated that,
“Cross-country statistics reveal that there exists ample room for improvement in this (internet inclusiveness) regard.”
The ranking considered four dimensions, i.e., availability, affordability, relevance and readiness. The report indicated that Pakistan ranked from average to poor in all of these. Furthermore, under the availability dimension that included the usage of infrastructure and electricity and quality of internet access, Pakistan ranked at a low 77th rank.
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Moreover, Pakistan ranked the lowest worldwide in gender access parity with a 266% gap in internet access rates and 121.2% gap in mobile ownership in favor of men.
On the parameters of policy, regulations and trust of government, however, Pakistan did well and ranked 15th, which helped with the overall ranking. On the affordability front Pakistan ranked 43 due to the good services from wireless internet providers due to competitive environment in the industry.