India has been ranked 36th among 75 nations in Internet inclusiveness based on factors such as availability, affordability, local language content, and policies for access, a Facebook-Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report has said.
The top countries in the tally are Singapore, Sweden, the US, the UK and Japan.
In terms of availability, India ranked 46th, while it jumped a few spots to 26th position in terms of affordability. The report placed India at 36th position in terms of relevance and 25th spot in terms of readiness.
“Internet access drives economic opportunity and enables the free exchange of data and information...A truly inclusive Internet must be widely available, affordable and allow usage that promotes positive social and economic outcomes,” Facebook said in a blogpost.
Among Asian countries, India ranked 12th out of 22 countries.
“Indian consumers have leapfrogged fixed-line broadband with a very high proportion of mobile subscribers. A high score for market competitiveness places India’s affordability among the highest in Asia,” the report said.
India is ranked joint first for policy in the Readiness category, with Japan and Malaysia, it added.
The report found that on average, 94 per cent of the population in the 75 countries included in the Index live within range of a mobile signal. However, only 43 per cent have access to 4G signal.
“As a result, predominantly in the developing world, people are using the Internet less than they would if it were cheaper and faster. The infrastructure for access may exist, but connectivity must be improved in order for the Internet to be globally inclusive,” the report said.
The report also pointed to the widening of the gender gap online.
“While connectivity is improving around the world, the gender gap is widening. Women make up a smaller proportion of Internet users today than in 2013,” it said, adding that data showed that women in developing countries are less likely to have data-capable phones than men.