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Internet connectivity in Pak low: Google

Internet connectivity in Pakistan is quite low with estimated penetration rate of 10 per cent but opportunities for growth are evident as 62 per cent of Pakistanis are under the age of 25, Google has said.

world Updated: Dec 23, 2010 12:39 IST

Internet connectivity in Pakistan is quite low with estimated penetration rate of 10 per cent but opportunities for growth are evident as 62 per cent of Pakistanis are under the age of 25, Google has said.

The most widely used web-based search engine in the world, Google which early this month sent a largest ever team to Pakistan has said that in the country it saw an opportunity for technology to not only foster economic development, but also to break down borders in the region.

"Pakistan's future no doubt lies with its youth—an incredible 62 per cent of Pakistanis are under the age of 25.

Perhaps the highlight of our trip was the International Youth," Google said in a blog which it posted on Wednesday.

"Over countless cups of hot chai and mixed grilled barbecues, we heard stories of ordinary Pakistanis using Google technology to document the flood and connect with one another during the crisis," Google said.

The team from Google and YouTube went to Pakistan to explore business and content opportunities, following up on Google's Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Pakistan and to sponsor and participate in Pakistan's first International Youth Conference and festival.

"It's hard to imagine a country more at the nexus of geo-politics today than Pakistan, and our team learned a lot about the state of the Pakistani technology, media and non-profit sectors," it said.

Noting that internet connectivity in Pakistan is quite low it said broadband costs are quite cheap compared to other parts of the world—around $ 13/month.

Smartphone usage is also on the rise, and there are a growing number of Pakistani developers who are creating mobile applications for sale both in Pakistan and abroad.

Around 60 per cent of Pakistanis have a mobile phone, and their average bill is around $ 3/month.

Not surprisingly, SMS is one of the primary means of communication in Pakistan.

One of the keys to bringing more Pakistanis online is the amount of local Pakistani content available on the Internet.

"There are some great examples so far: for instance, Coke Studio, a fusion music project sponsored by Coke that features popular Pakistani musicians, grew so popular on YouTube last summer that it was the 11th-most viewed channel on the site," it said.

Google.org granted $ 1 million to Pakistani flood relief in September, localised crisis response tools, and launched a flood relief landing page.

"On our trip we met with several non-profits who are doing incredible work to help the affected citizens get back on their feet," Google said.