Internet connectivity low in Pakistan: Google, Youtube officials

Internet connectivity in Pakistan is quite low with estimated penetration rate of 10 percent but opportunities for growth are evident as a matter of fact broadband costs are quite cheap compared with other parts of the world—around $13/month. These observations were penned in on the googleblog in a trip report of Google and Youtube officials’ recent visit in Pakistan. The team was in Pakistan to explore business and content opportunities, following up on Google’s Clinton Global Initiative commitment to Pakistan and to sponsor and participate in Pakistan’s first International Youth Conference and Festival. “It’s hard to imagine a country more at the nexus of geo-politics today than Pakistan, and our team learned a lot about the state of the Pakistani technology, media and non-profit sectors.” Smartphone usage is also on the rise, and there are a growing number of Pakistani developers who are creating mobile applications for sale both in Pakistan and abroad. Around 60% of Pakistanis use mobile phone, and their average bill is around $3/month. Not surprisingly, SMS is one of the primary means of communication in Pakistan. One of the keys to bringing more Pakistanis online is the amount of local Pakistani content available on the Internet. There are some great examples so far: for instance, Coke Studio — a “fusion” music project sponsored by Coke that features popular Pakistani musicians, grew so popular on YouTube last summer that it was the 11th-most viewed channel on the site, stated in the googleblog report. Dozens of news organisations have begun to use YouTube as a global distribution platform as well, reaching not only Pakistanis online but also the diaspora abroad. The Pakistani media is young and voracious—it was just eight years ago that the government opened up the airwaves to allow non-state media channels to exist, and in that short time the media has grown to become an important player in the public discourse in Pakistan, despite occasional crackdowns from authorities. Citizen media has also played an increasingly big role in Pakistan: for example many Pakistanis used cellphone cameras to document the devastation wrought by the floods in Pakistan last summer. – Dailytimes