B&R by the Numbers: B&R countries need to speed up internet

Editor’s Note: This is the fifteenth installment of Belt and Road Portal's special series on the Belt and Road Big Data Report 2017.

Mobile phones are the main telecommunication tool in the countries along the Belt and Road routes. However, the countries have great potential to develop their broadband internet, a report says.

The number of cell phone users in the countries along the Belt and Road routes has rapidly increased since 2007, among which the Central Asian countries witnessed the fastest growth, according to the Belt and Road Big Data Report 2017 published recently by the State Information Center.

Every 100 inhabitants of the sampled countries use 121.35 cell phones and 16.07 telephones on average. Fifty-five countries have a mobile phone penetration rate higher than 80 percent. In Kuwait and Maldives, the cell phone penetration rate is 231.76 percent and 206.66 percent respectively. 

The report also finds that among the countries with cell phone penetration rate above 100 percent, only 20 percent of the countries have a mobile broad band penetration rate of over 80 percent.

The average computer penetration rate in the countries along the Belt and Road routes is 52.43 percent. Bahrain and Brunei have the highest computer penetration rate at above 90 percent, and Afghanistan (2.9 percent) and Yemen (6.5 percent) are the lowest.

The International Telecommunication Union’s data in 2015 shows that the threshold broadband internet speed in developed and developing countries is 5 Mbit per second and 1 Mbit per second respectively.

The report indicates more than 40 percent of the countries along the Belt and Road routes have a broadband internet speed no higher than 1 Mbit per second.

According to the report, Singapore has the fastest internet speed with 200 Mbit per second, followed by Lithuania and Romania with 100 Mbit per second. Afghanistan and Bangladesh have the lowest internet speed of only 0.25 Mbit per second.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the construction of telecommunication and information infrastructure facilities as interconnection of these facilities is an important content of the Belt and Road Initiative.

China has 34 cross-border land optical cables and multiple international submarine optical cables with 12 countries along the Belt and Road routes.

China is cooperating with the ITU and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific to advance the East Africa information expressway, Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway as well as the other multilateral cooperation proposals.

Chinese enterprises have taken part in information infrastructure facility construction in over 170 countries.

Editor: liuyue