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Definition

Definition

An industrial definition of ICT products includes ICT goods and services primarily intended to enable or fulfil the function of information processing and communication by electronic means, including transmission and display. The most common examples of ICT goods are computers, laptops and phones (including fixed connections), but also include televisions, radios, digital cameras, software, and global positioning systems (GPS). The list of included ICT goods are defined by the Harmonised System, an international standard recommended for application to ICT industry goods by the United Nations in the Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Society.

ICT services include telecommunications, information technology (IT) networks, video conferencing, IT technical consulting and support services, and providing access to the Internet. The OECD definition of services is based on the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activity (ISIC Rev.4) and is defined in the Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Society.

Access to, and use of, ICT refers to access and use by households, individuals, and businesses. Definitions used in the household ICT collection are derived from the Manual for Measuring ICT Access. ICT in this context relates to landline phones, mobile phones, Internet connections and networks, devices that connect to the Internet, and activities related to the Internet.

Many of the common telecommunications and Internet terms used across the four ICT Surveys referenced in this document are based on those in the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development’s Core ICT Indicators 2010 handbook. These include terms such as broadband, types of Internet activities, such as Internet banking, and locations of Internet use.

Terms such as household composition, rural/urban areas, regional areas, and annual household income used in the Household Use of ICT survey (HHICT) come directly from the sample design of the Household Labour Force Survey, which has been the collection vehicle for HHICT since 2006.

Operational issues

With technology continually evolving, new ICT products and services are constantly being adopted by society. ICT statistics cover access to, and use of, these ICT products and services, as well as the skills and capability required to use them.

One challenge in developing ICT classifications is maintaining current definitions as technology and its application changes. ICT definitions must be broad enough to encompass technological developments without requiring significant change in each collection. For this reason, Statistics NZ's surveys on ICT tend to change between iterations to reflect real world changes in technology. New examples are added to existing definitions as products and services are developed while attempting to remain consistent with the conceptual intention of a term.

Questionnaire changes may also reflect changes in the needs of stakeholders and data users, particularly on less frequent survey cycles. Surveys can be conducted up to three years apart, so questionnaires may need updating to include and appropriately capture new technologies introduced since the last survey cycle. As respondents may not be familiar with all technical terms included in an ICT related survey, definitions are included along with examples of familiar or popular items, to assist understanding. This means that some outputs may be new or unique to a survey cycle. However significant effort is made to maintain time series continuity where possible.

We regularly consult with our stakeholders to update data users’ collection and output needs, and to ensure all relevant and new goods and services are covered by the appropriate ICT survey.

Explanatory notes

Statistics NZ has designed a suite of surveys to assess individual, household, and business adoption and use of ICT. While many questions in these surveys are coded to ‘yes/no/don’t know’ classifications, others are percentage based, or value based (NZ$). Survey responses are collated to produce the output classifications.

Ongoing collaborative work ensures that there is international consistency and comparability in the measurement and monitoring of ICT. The Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development regularly reviews indicators and adds new ones to allow for the collection of information on advancements in the field; for example, the introduction of tablets and smartphones, which fall between a phone and computer in their functionality.

Educational and government uses of ICT are not included in this standard as Statistics NZ does not currently collect or disseminate information in these areas. If statistics in these areas are produced in the future, the standard will be updated to reflect this. The standard also excludes collecting information on prices, imports and exports, and employment in the ICT-related industries (see 'Related classifications and standards: New Zealand').

Statistics NZ does not collect the suggested information for all international indicators. Rather, a balance is struck between international reporting requirements on one hand, and the concerns of respondent burden, availability of information, and domestic need for particular statistics on the other. Statistics NZ’s adherence to OECD indicators is outlined in 'Classification criteria'.

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