By Andrey Afanasiev
Belarus has been ranked 34th among over 170 global economies for its number of fixed broadband Internet users per 100 residents. It is 50th in its number of users of mobile access per 100 residents (18.9 — which is comparable to the average). Belarus is an impressive 21st for the number of households with Internet access; while the world’s average is 20.5 percent, as many as 40.3 percent of Belarusian homes have access.
Belarus’ Ministry for Communications believes that ‘the report allows us to positively evaluate the intermediate results of the first year of the National Information and Communication Infrastructure sub-programme being launched’. The latter is part of a national programme to promote ICT services from 2011-2015, aiming to improve Belarus’ ranking by 2015 (as rated by the International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations Organisation). The country plans to advance into the world’s top 30 countries for ICT access.
The report points out the need to encourage the development of broadband Internet access at national level since it aids economic growth and social integration. Currently, xDSL technologies remain the most prevalent for wired broadband Internet access across the globe, used for about 60.8 percent of broadband connections. Data transmission via cable television networks — common in some European states — has a share of 19.4 percent.
Meanwhile, FTTx technologies are developing fast, with fibre optic cable being laid directly to a subscriber’s private house (14.1 percent of connections) or a flat (2.6 percent). These replace conventional copper wire and enable speeds of up to 100Mbps.
As the Ministry comments, similar infrastructure development trends are registered in Belarus. The growing need for information among Belarusians and, as a result, demand for more Internet access, has encouraged telecom operators to introduce new technologies.