Variance in Communication Infrastructure by Country

The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on technology. 20% of a country’s technology score (4% of the overall Country Similarity Index score) is allocated for the country’s communications infrastructure. The following are the statistics that were included in the calculation:

Internet Access

It is no surprise that the countries with the highest percentage of internet users are generally the wealthiest countries. Over 99% of Bahrain’s population uses the internet. Sub-Saharan African countries generally have the lowest percentage of internet users. Somalia and Eritrea have especially few with around 2% of the people in their countries using it. There is a huge contrast between North Korea and South Korea in this respect, since few North Koreans use it, while over 95% of South Koreans do.

The International Telecommunication Union is the main source of the data:
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.ZS?view=chart

Internet Speed

The average internet speed in a country correlates with how wealthy a country is. South Korea has the fastest internet, but Japan, United States, Canada, and Europe, also have the fast internet speeds. In contrast, many poorer countries, especially in Africa, have slow internet. Mali may have the slowest average internet in the world with an average of only 0.5 megabytes per second.

The Telegraph is the main source of the data:
https://telegraphtravelmaps.carto.com/viz/b0a43e76-40bf-11e5-bfd4-0e6e1df11cbf/public_map

Countries were grouped into the following categories by megabytes per second:
0-2.5, 2.5-5, 5-10, 10-17.5, 17.5-25

Most Popular Websites

Google and YouTube are popular in most countries. Only a few countries, like China and North Korea,  do not heavily use these website, since they are blocked. Facebook is also quite popular, except for in former countries of the Soviet Union, where VK has more users. Wikipedia, Amazon, Yahoo, Ebay, Netflix, and Reddit are also commonly found in the top 10 websites of many countries. Mercadolibre is a popular site in Latin America. However, there are many websites that are only popular in one country.

Alexa is the main source of the data:
https://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/

Cell Phone Subscriptions per Capita

In general, there is not a huge correlation between the number of cell phone subscriptions per capita and a certain region, except that the poorest countries have few. However, the wealthiest countries do not necessarily have the most. Russia, Thailand, South Africa, and Costa Rica are some of the countries with the most per capita.

The International Telecommunication Union is the primary source of the data:
https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/mobile-cellular-subscriptions-per-100-people

Countries were grouped into the following categories by number of cell phone subscriptions per capita:
0-40, 40-80, 80-120, 120-160, 160-200

Country Calling Code

When calling other countries, there are different prefixes that must be dialed to reach them. United States, Canada, and a few other North American countries use +1. African countries and Greenland use +2. Europe is split between +3 and +4. Most Latin American countries use +5. Southwest Asia and Oceania generally use +6. Russia and Kazakhstan use +7. East Asian countries and Bangladesh use +8. In general, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent use +9. Many times countries also share the first two numbers. For example, Central American countries all use +50. Former Yugoslavian countries all use +38. The Baltic countries and Belarus use +37.

Wikipedia is the main source of the information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_country_calling_codes#/media/File:Country_calling_codes_map.svg

Emergency Number

The phone number for the police and emergency services is different in many countries. 911 is most common in North America, but it is used by a few South American countries. Many European countries and their former colonies use 112. East Asian countries often use 110 for the police and 119 for the fire department. Great Britain and some of its former colonies use 999. Many former French colonies in Africa use 117.

Wikipedia is the main source of the information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emergency_telephone_numbers

TV Stations per Capita

Some countries have far more television stations per capita than others. Interestingly enough Mongolia has the most per person. This LA Times article outlines some of the reasons. Norway, Iceland, and Russia also have many. Poorer countries tend to have less TV stations per capita, but this is not always the case. Singapore and South Korea also have relatively few per capita.

The Nation Master is the source of the data:
https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Media/Television-broadcast-stations-per-million

Countries categorized into the following groups by TV Stations per 1 million people:
0-5.5, 5.5-11, 11-22, 22-44, 44-88

TV Broadcast Standard

There are four main digital broadcast standards in use today. The vast majority of countries in the Eastern Hemisphere use DVB-T. However, Cuba, Pakistan, and a few other Asian countries use DTMB, which was developed in China. ISDB-T is most common in Latin America, but it is also used in Japan, where it was invented. ATSC was created by the United States, but it is also used by South Korea, Mexico, and a few other countries. However, not all countries have made the transition to digital television and still use analog formats. Somalia, Yemen, North Korea, and Turkmenistan are some examples.

Wikipedia is the main source of the information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_terrestrial_television#/media/File:Digital_terrestrial_television_standards.svg

TV Broadcast Standards include the following types:
DVB-T, ISDB-T, ATSC, DTMB, PAL, SECAM, NTSC

Radio Stations per Capita

Some countries have far more radio stations per capita than others.  Poorer countries tend to have less radio stations per capita, but this is not always the case. Suriname has many, while Singapore and Bahrain have relatively few per capita. Smaller, densely populated countries oftentimes do not have as many radio stations per person since the population is concentrated in one area.

The CIA Factbook is the source of the data:
https://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/WorldStats/CIA-Radio-broadcast-stations.html

Countries categorized into the following groups by Radio Stations per 1 million people:
0-6.25, 6.25-12, 12.5-25, 25-50, 50-100

ITU Radio Region

The regulatory body for radio communications divides the world up into 3 main regions to manage the radio spectrum. Each region has its own unique frequency allocations. Region 1 is comprised of Europe, Africa, as well as much of the Middle East and Central Asia. The rest of Asia and Oceania is in Region 3. The Western Hemisphere is in Region 2.

The International Telecommunication Union is the source of the information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITU_Region

UHF Radio Allocations

Countries allocate different parts of the radio spectrum for passive RFID. Passive RFID systems use tags with no power source and are powered by the electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID reader. Most countries, especially in Europe allocate a band between 860 and 870 MHz. Countries in the Western Hemisphere and East Asia generally use a band between 900 and 930 MHz. There are also a few countries that use unique bands.

GS1 is the source of the information:
https://www.gs1.org/docs/epc/uhf_regulations.pdf

Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one country is to another. How would you quantify how similar one country is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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