Why so little internet in Ukraine?

I was browsing the BBC News site and came across the fascinating infographic about internet access in Europe (sorry for the small size of the picture below):

It shows the percentage of people in each country with access to the internet in 2008. Red, the predominant colour, indicates that more than 31% of people in that country have internet access.

I’m fascinated, though, to see that one of the countries in Europe with the least internet penetration is Ukraine, where only marginally over 10% of people have access. Does anyone know why a relatively authoritarian country like Belarus has managed to get more than 1/3rd of its people online, whereas Ukraine has only managed 1/10th? Any thoughts on what this means for the development of political debate and free speech in Ukraine?

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6 Responses

  1. I’m not too surprised. Belarus is substantially more prosperous than Ukraine per capita, its wealth is distributed more equitably, and Lukashenko’s authoritarianism tends to be overstated.

  2. Kaboom says:

    Be interested to know if there’s any political breakdown of those with net access in Ukraine.

    In the West, a minority view among Ukrainians continues to get the upper hand.

  3. Michelle says:

    My opinion is that few have internet access in Ukraine because:
    a. people first need to be able to buy a computer and they are expensive
    b. You then have to have to be able to access internet and that also cost money and the infrastructure for this is poor. I only began to use high speed internet 1 1/2 ago, before that I used dial up which was super slow and kept disconnecting which made it even more expensive.

    Many also live in small towns or villages and I image it is difficult to get access to the internet.

  4. Emil says:

    The map looks a bit bogus … Akamai thinks different, and they should know something : http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/

  5. Ed says:

    It’s not surprising that the number of broadband connections is so low because of the relative high cost of broadband in poorer countries, but actually in this respect the numbers for Ukraine aren’t that much lower than Belarus. It IS surprising that in a country where many people use internet cafes to access the internet that the proportion of users to connections isn’t higher. That definitely seems wrong. Perhaps the survey was flawed?

  6. Emil says:

    The issue with the survey is what “broadband” means … in UK a 1.5 mb/s line on a “best effort” basis would be classified as “broadband”, while in Rumania it would be regarded as junk and not worth the bother of getting it for free, since even rural areas are covered by wireless broadband that have better speed.