Bahrain has added many of ICT tools in becoming an infotech hub in the region. The country is ranked 45th on the global Information and Communications Technology readiness index.
This year, the Kingdom improved its position by six ranks and comes behind UAE 29 and Qatar 32, and before Jordan 47, Saudi Arabia 48 and Oman 53. Bahrain is the first country in Middle East to install a computer in 1978 and the first Arab nation to hold an online referendum. Bahrain has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the region. The government of Bahrain has also adopted a liberal approach towards Internet regulation and has invested heavily in the IT infrastructure and education. The Kingdom is the first to introduce 3G and 3.5G high-speed download services, the first to go nationwide with WiMax wireless networks and the first to introduce Smartcards. Bahrain is the only country in the GCC to have ratified a Free Trade Agreement with the US which facilitates the exchange of technology expertise. The concept of e-Government is long-established in Bahrain with a number of government services available on the Internet. Recently, Bahrain has been acknowledged by the World Economic Forum and INSEAD, one of the world's leading business schools, in the organisations' Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008.