ITU’s new ICT Development Index

The International Telecommunication Union has published their new ICT Development Index, measuring 11 Information and Communication Technologies indicators for 154 countries, and calculating its value for 2002 and 2007, so that comparisons can be made available.

The ICT Development Index (IDI) is a merger of two previous indices: the Digital Opportunity Index and the ICT Opportunity Index. From the DOI it takes indicators related to households and broadband and the methodology and presentation, while from the ICT-OI it takes indicators related to skills, the normalization method and the digital divide analysis and methodology.

This merger responds to the proposal — and need — of the ITU and other international agencies to concentrate all efforts in just one multi-purpose measuring device, instead of having several complementing indices fostered by different organizations. So we should congratulate all agencies contributing to making this possible for that effort.

But. While some consensus has been reached, the cost of is that the new index has evolved towards a lowest common denominator. In our opinion, losing the information that affordability brought to i.e. the DAI is a loss of shades that were of most utility. This way, the new index is more polarized and is mainly intensive in infrastructures and just shyly on usage and skills, leaving a big void in all other aspects of digital life: the ICT sector, digital skills (the new index uses but proxies) or the legal framework.

On the other hand, the most interesting thing to highlight from this index is that, unlike most other indices, the coefficients of the weigths assigned to each indicator and subindex are calculated statistically, using principal components analysis. Undoubtedly, this provides much legitimacy to the final index values, at least at the formal level.

To clarify the evolution within the UN Sytem of how ICTs have been measured we have prepared the following scheme:

More brief information related to these indices can bee accessed in the following links:

More information

Note: I want to thank Ivan Vallejo from the ITU for his quick and effective answer to my requirement. ¡Gracias!


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “ITU’s new ICT Development Index” In ICTlogy, #66, March 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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