OECD Factbook 2011-2012: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics
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branch Science and technology
branch Information and communications
    branch Computer, Internet and telecommunication

Communication access and computers are increasingly present in homes in OECD countries, both in countries that already have high penetration rates and in those where adoption has lagged.


For access to home computers, the table shows the number of households that reported having at least one personal computer in working order in their home. The second part of the table shows the percentage of households who reported that they had access to the Internet. In almost all cases this access is via a personal computer either using a dial-up, ADSL or cable broadband access.

The table also shows total communication access paths. For OECD countries and China, these refer to the total number of fixed lines (standard analogue access lines and ISDN lines), DSL, Cable modem subscribers and mobile telephone subscribers. For Brazil, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa, total communication access paths are the sum of main telephone lines in operation, ISDN lines, DSL and cable modem subscribers and cellular mobile telephone subscribers.


The OECD has addressed issues of international comparability by developing a model survey on ICT used in households and by individuals. The model survey uses modules addressing different topics so that additional components can be added reflecting usage practices and policy interests. The ICT access and use by households and individuals model survey is available on the OECD website.

Statistics on ICT use by households may run into problems of international comparability because of structural differences in the composition of households. On the other hand, statistics on ICT use by individuals may refer to people of different ages, and age is an important determinant of ICT use. Household- and person-based measures yield different figures in terms of levels and growth rates of ICT use. Such differences complicate international comparisons and make benchmarking exercises based on a single indicator of Internet access or use misleading, since country rankings change according to the indicator used.

For telecommunications access, data for OECD countries are collected according to agreed definitions and are highly comparable. The data shown for the nine non-OECD countries were partly collected according to the OECD definitions and partly provided by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The definition used by ITU is slightly narrower than the one used by the OECD, although data reported for the two sets of countries can be regarded as broadly comparable.


ICT penetration rates are the highest in Iceland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Japan, and Denmark, where over 85% of households had access to a home computer by 2009. Penetration rates in Mexico and Turkey remain below 30%. Between 2000 and 2009, the share of households with access to a home computer increased by over 40 percentage points in the United Kingdom, France, Austria and Ireland.

The picture with regard to Internet access is similar. In Korea, the Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Norway, over 85% of all households had Internet access in 2009. In Mexico, less than 20% of all households had Internet access in the same year.

Access to telecommunications networks continues to expand in all OECD countries. Over 1999-2009, access more than doubled in the OECD area as a whole, going from 80.2 to 162.7 telecommunications paths per 100 inhabitants. Growth rates in telecommunication paths were even higher in India (with a growth in access penetration of over 1600%), China (over 600%), Mexico and Brazil (over 400%).



Further information
Analytical publications
Statistical publications
Indicator in PDF Acrobat PDF page

Households with access to home computers, Internet and telephone
    Table in Excel

Mobile cellular subscribers Figure in Excel
Mobile cellular subscribers
Households with access to home computers Figure in Excel
Households with access to home

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