Get width it

OECD Observer

Click to enlarge.

Beyond the haves and have-nots of mobile handsets, PCs or hand-held IT devices, there is a deeper, and perhaps more debilitating, layer to the digital divide. And that is the availability (or lack) of basic network infrastructure in low-income economies.

Bandwidth is the key, since broader bands can accommodate more information than conventional dial-up services. Though users in poorer countries may (and often do) have basic IT skills, these will be under-employed without accessible and affordable connectivity. In fact, without broadband, access to knowledge networks and other services is limited, while some types of digital information, such as complex imagery for medicine, might not be handled at all.

The bandwidth gap is wide. The total population of Liberia must share an international Internet connection of 256 kbit/s (kilobits per second), the equivalent of just one baseline residential broadband connection in the OECD. A single Danish resident has more bandwidth than the whole of Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Comoros, Turkmenistan, Chad and Niger combined. And a single 100 Mbit/s broadband user in Japan has access to as much international connectivity as the 45 countries with the lowest international connectivity combined.

©OECD Observer No 250, July 2005

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017