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
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
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
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%).