NZ plunges down digital access index

AUCKLAND (11/21/2003) - New Zealand has been placed well down the rankings in an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) index that measures access to information and communication technology (ICT).

New Zealand is in 21st place on a list topped by Sweden, sharing its ranking with France, Italy and Slovenia.

We're distinguished by having lost more places -- slipping from 12th -- than any other country.

According to the ITU, the Digital Access Index (DAI) differs from other indices by including a number of new variables, such as education and affordability. It covers a total of 178 economies.

Countries are classified as being high, upper, medium or low in terms of digital access. In the high category, among which is New Zealand, the top nine countries are Asian and European.

The ITU says the index combines eight variables, covering five areas, to provide an overall country score. The areas are availability of infrastructure, affordability of access, educational level, quality of ICT services and Internet usage.

Details of the index can be found on the ITU Web site.

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