Tracking global ICT development with data

New and updated ITU handbook and manual

Around the world, policymakers and decision-makers rely on ITU to provide critical ICT data to inform their digital strategies and formulate sound policy. Without reliable and updated data, it is difficult to make critical spending decisions or allocate resources amid a rapidly shifting ICT landscape.


In collaboration with its partners, ITU strives to produce the most relevant, accurate and internationally comparable data. This starts with defining international standards and methodologies that will underpin global data collection efforts, all of which characterize the work of ITU’s Expert Groups and the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium.

The rapid diffusion of ICT, the emergence of new technologies, the evolution in digital behaviours, and the development of new collection techniques prompt a regular revision and update of existing data standards, as well as the creation of new ones.

Today, we are proud to launch new editions of two technical reference documents that lay out the standards and definitions for the collection of internationally comparable ICT statistics.

A new handbook: Improving global ICT data collection

The 2020 edition of the ITU Handbook for the Collection of Administrative Data on Telecommunications/ICT regroups over 90 internationally-agreed indicators to help track global ICT developments, focusing indicators from the telecommunication services sector mainly collected by national regulators.

For each of these indicators, the Handbook provides detailed methodologies, collection methods and examples, to support data collection efforts around the world, and ensure that the data is accurate and as comparable as possible across countries and over time.

The first version of the Handbook was published in 1994, followed by a revised version in 2011. Since then, ICT indicators and definitions have undergone important amendments, reflecting the rapid developments in the telecommunication and ICT ecosystems in terms of technologies, market trends, and regulations. These changes are reflected in this substantially revised edition, which has been considerably enhanced in terms of scope and level of detail.

A new manual: Measuring ICT access and use

We are also releasing the 2020 edition of the ITU Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals, which focuses on demand-side indicators, mainly collected by national statistical offices. The Manual is designed as a practical tool to guide countries in their ICT data production, serving as a basic reference when preparing, designing and implementing ICT household surveys. This data plays a critical role in reducing inequalities and bridging global digital divides, as it can provide a more detailed picture of who isn’t connected and why.

The first version of the Manual was published in 2009, and a revised version in 2011. In this third edition, we continue the trend of expanding the list of ICT indicators, while taking stock of the experiences of developed and developing countries alike in the implementation of ICT surveys. In addition, we have introduced new measurement topics, reflecting the evolving nature of digital access and use.

Building capacity: WTID and new online training courses in ICT statistics

Both the Handbook and the Manual are key reference documents for our Member States in collecting the data that feed into the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, which contains time series data for more than 180 telecommunication/ICT statistics. The WTID is released twice per year, most recently in July 2020.

These two volumes are also part of ITU’s capacity building efforts, which in addition include workshops, and an extensive offer of courses via the ITU Academy. To ensure our members and partners make best use of the Handbook and the Manual, we will launch complementary online training courses, which will be available on the ITU Academy later this year. These free online courses will enable anybody interested in ICT statistics to be informed of and trained in the latest standards and definitions.

Armed and informed with reliable, up-to-date data, policy makers can better target ICT investments that create impact, which directly translates to improved lives, better jobs and stronger digital economies. We are confident that the Handbook and the Manual will remain key reference documents for all those involved – directly or indirectly – in measuring digital development.



Source : My ITU