LA lands in the middle of global ranking of broadband’s effect on local society

by Steve Blum • , , ,

A picture is worth a thousand numbers.

Los Angeles ranks 11th out of 31 major metropolitan areas around the world in Ericsson’s 2013 City Index, behind 8th-ranked New York, barely ahead of of 12th-ranked Miami, the only other U.S. cities rated, and beats Seoul at number 13. The index compares cities on the basis of the level of information and communication technology (ICT) maturity and the contribution that ICT makes to the local economy, environment and social equity.

Overall, the result paints a somewhat different picture from what’s become conventional wisdom. In most rankings, which tend to be just based on broadband infrastructure and service availability, Asian cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul top the charts. Not in this study, though.

In trying to assess how effectively telecoms infrastructure is put to use, Ericsson’s rankings also factor in quality of life considerations. There’s reason to suspect a bit of bias in the criteria used: Ericcson’s home town of Stockholm is number 1 on the list. But finding objective measures of quality of life is a fraught exercise. There are worse ways to go about it than using Scandinavian values as a benchmark. Given that, Ericsson’s analysis shows a link between broadband and living standards…

The 2013 Index supports the idea of a positive relationship between ICT maturity and economic development, which in turn is strongly linked to standard of living and opportunities for investment in healthcare, education and other public services. ICT can be a useful tool for increasing the social return on investments in new technology for cities at all levels of ICT maturity. It can also increase citizen inclusion and participation. ICT plays an important role in sustainable social development and the cities included in the Index demonstrate a strong relationship between ICT maturity and health, education and inclusion.

The cities in the study were chosen primarily on the basis of population, with a nod to regional importance. San Francisco didn’t make the list, but it has a prominent place on the cover of the report: numbers tell the story for LA, but if you want to show what a connected city that combines a high tech economy with a world class quality of life looks like, a photo looking back at The City from the Golden Gate Bridge tells it all.