Cisco Study Reveals Potential for, and Barriers to, Successful Internet Adoption in Emerging Markets
Citizens and Business Alike See Government Helping Them Take Advantage of Internet’s Full Potential
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia
* A new study, sponsored by Cisco and conducted by Illuminas Global, reveals that citizens in developing economies are well aware of the potential of the Internet and expect to use online services far more than they currently do.
* In urban centers within emerging markets, the lack of skills, paucity of services and reliance on shared-access PCs, typically in Internet cafes, constitute key barriers for Internet use and online services.
* The survey showed that citizens are calling on governments to play a leading role in offering valued online services and in facilitating the emergence of a high-quality Internet infrastructure.
* The study included citizens and businesses from various industries and companies in 24 cities across six emerging countries: Russia, Poland, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
* The baseline study was carried out in 2007, and a more limited follow-up was conducted in the summer of 2008.
“We conducted this extensive research to better understand a key transition that is taking place in emerging markets. Because of population density, cities are where connectivity spreads faster and, hence, where early indications of demand for online services can be observed,” said Paul Mountford, president of Emerging Markets for Cisco. “This can not only help city government establish priorities for online service deployment, but can also provide national governments with clear indications of what the rest of the country’s population might want, indeed expect, in terms of online service offerings.”
“While some key factors behind ICT adoption tend to be under the primary influence of national governments, other factors that come well under the purview of municipal or metropolitan governments can make a significant difference. Both national and local government broadband strategies are necessary to take advantage of the opportunity that IP networks offer. There is also a sense of urgency to enhance city competitiveness by being among the first movers in the mainstreaming of Web 2.0 ,” said Enrique Rueda-Sabater, director of strategy for Cisco in emerging markets.
Of the many interesting findings, the most relevant were around skills, expectations for government online services, and hopes for government actions to improve Internet access:
* Skills: Of all the possible barriers, the top three identified by citizens and businesses as preventing them from using the Internet (or using it more) were clear-cut: skills, access and cost. While these play out differently in different segments of the population, overall the single most-often mentioned barrier, both for citizens and businesses, was “skills.” For 26 percent of the businesses surveyed and 29 percent of the citizens, a lack of skills and knowledge is the main barrier to using the Internet.
* Services: Regardless of current usage levels, citizens show an interest in using all tested services in the future (assuming that access is convenient and reasonably priced). The largest unmet demand (expectation of future use compared with current use) is for government services such as employment, education and health care resources. For example, 18 percent of the people surveyed use employment services, but 51 percent would be willing to use them in the future.
* Government role: Citizens and businesses clearly desire a more active involvement by government to promote Internet access and use. The overwhelming majority of businesses (80 percent) and citizens (77 percent) think that the government should make it easier to access the Internet. In addition, a large majority of businesses suggest that the government should make investing in Internet infrastructure more of a priority.
About the survey:
* Cities Net Opportunities Study
* The study was commissioned by Cisco to better understand how cities use and expect to use the Internet, at a moment when the cities have a role as spearheads for technology adoption.
* The study is meant as a contribution to the discussion of effective interventions and to spur debate among authorities, opinion leaders and public opinion on the potential role of networks, and of information and communications technology in their city, for both social and economic purposes.
* Because of the relative consistency of results, they can be considered broadly representative of the situation in many other emerging countries. The countries were chosen because they constitute a diverse set of social and business cultures, established and emerging network-dependent economies, and varied levels of Internet adoption.
* The 2007 study consisted of two parallel surveys, one for citizens (6039 surveys) and one for businesses (1,739 surveys). In 2008 only citizens were surveyed (1,500 surveys).
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, visit http://newsroom.cisco.com. Cisco equipment in Emerging Markets is supplied by Cisco Systems International BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc.
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