(Islamabad 17th November ’15)
The Internet Society (ISOC) in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN ESCAP is conducting a regional study of ten countries from Central Asia, the Caucuses and South Asia (including Pakistan), focusing on Internet infrastructure and related issues. Speaking with the media, the Asia-Pacific head of ISOC,
Mr. Rajnesh Singh explained that the study will be released later this year but shared some advance findings with the media regarding Pakistan. This synopsis highlighted some of the opportunities along with some major challenges that are faced by the region, and Pakistan specifically.
The report is the third in a series of studies by ISOC that looks at sub-regional Internet ecosystems and their level of progress towards transitioning to a digital economy - where the Internet is the underlying driver of all sectors across an economy. The report highlighted that, although Pakistan has the lowest Internet user density (users per 100 individuals) of 13.8% in the region, due to its geostrategic location and access to coastlines, Pakistan has the potential to become a supply route for the neighboring landlocked countries for Internet and communication services.
Through the adoption of effective and favorable policies by the government – and pursuing agreements with neighboring governments – Pakistan in the near future can find itself as an integral part of the supply chain to these countries. This will also allow it to enhance its own internal Internet bandwidth availability, and help pave the way for greater digitization of Pakistan’s own economy with growth, modernization and development in all sectors. However, the report also underscores that the window of opportunity for Pakistan to position itself in this manner is finite.
This presents a steep challenge for Pakistan but also allows an opportunity to integrate itself as an important part of the larger regional supply chain in the future.
The growth of the mobile network has helped dramatically improve voice-based communications services in the country, and deployment of the much-awaited 3G/4G networks have led to exponential growth in mobile broadband Internet in the past year or so. The challenge for Pakistan is to capitalize on these developments and move to the next stage in its evolution to a digital economy and help deliver its Vision 2025.
The Internet Society engages in a wide spectrum of Internet issues, including policy, governance, technology, and development. It aims to establish and promote principles that are intended to encourage governments to make decisions that are right for their citizens and each nation’s future. Organizational goals are based on ensuring that a healthy, sustainable Internet is available to everyone – today and for the next billions of users to come.