Bhutan Improved in ICT Development Index Country Ranking

Bhutan’s global rank for IDI has improved from 122 in 2015 to 117 in 2016 (Country rank) in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Development Index (IDI) out of 175 countries. Korea is ranked number one and Niger in the 175th .However Bhutan is ranked 21 in the Asia and Pacific Region out of 34 countries. Bhutan is also ranked third in the cheapest mobile-broadband services in the region.Bhutan is also ranked in top 15 countries which have improved most of their IDI values during the past year.

The ITU ICT Development Index (IDI) is a unique benchmark of the level of ICT development in countries across the world.The IDI combines eleven indicators on ICT access, use and skills, capturing key aspects of ICT development in one measure that allows for comparisons across countries and over time.

ICT and IDI Developments in Bhutan (extract from the Information Society Report 2016)

Bhutan was the most dynamic country in terms of IDI value in the Asia-Pacific region during the year between IDI 2015 and IDI 2016. The most significant change in Bhutan occurred in the active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, which increased from 28.2 to 56.4 over the year, continuing a trend of rapid growth since 2012.There was also an increase in the proportion of individuals using the Internet, from 4.5 per cent in 2006 to 39.8 per cent in 2015 , while the proportion of households with Internet rose from 24.0 per cent in 2014 to 31.7 per cent in 2015.

The growth in Internet usage, especially through mobile broadband, can be explained by the expansion of 3G coverage in the country during 2015, alongside network upgrades to LTE. TashiCell’s 3G network covered all 20 administrative districts as of July 2015, as compared with 14 in March 2015 and eight in 2014.15. Overall, population coverage by 3G networks climbed to 80 per cent by end 2015, with 40 per cent coverage by LTE. The roll-out of LTE network and expansion of 3G network enabled data users to move from EDGE to 3G and LTE in 2015 (BICMA, 2016).