Sweden Tops World Wide Web Index, UK Comes Third

Sweden has topped the World Wide Web Index, which measures the impact of the web in different countries, with the US taking second place and the UK third.

The Index,published for the first time today, ranks 61 nations according the impact and availability of the Internet. It comes from the World Wide Web Foundation which was founded in 2008 by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Nepal finished bottom of the rankings, which

World Wide Web Index

The index used data from the last five years in seven categories:

  • communications infrastructure
  • institutional infrastructure such as education, laws, regulation and censorship
  • web content
  • web use
  • political impact
  • economic impact and
  • social impact.

Berners-Lee called for the Index to be used to improve web use as well as improved access and cost in nations which are lagging. Nepal finished last in the rankings, while Yemen finished bottom in three different categories

The survey found that one third of people in the world use the Internet while just one in six use it in Africa. It acknowledged that the cost of Internet access has fallen in Western Europe, but said it remains a luxury in many countries. Berners-Lee says that costs need to come down dramatically to improve the situation: In many countries Internet access costs almost half of monthly income per capita.

Other perceived threats were a lack of press freedom in half of the countries, while 30 percent face some form of government restrictions to websites.

Ireland received the highest score for the economic impact of the Internet, with 14.8 percent of its GDP coming from ICT service exports between 2007 and 2010. Earlier this year, research discovered that the UK has a very Internet-dependent economy, with £121 billion, 8 percent of its economy, coming from e-commerce.

Berners-Lee called the Internet a powerful tool that can improve individuals, governments and societies and there has even been an argument previously that Internet access is a human right. However Vint Cerf, one of the so-called ‘founders of the Internet’, has rejected this argument, calling it an enabler of human rights and not a right itself.

Are you fluent in the language of the Internet? Find out with our quiz!

Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

View Comments

  • Wow - Sweden is already top?

    What will their rating be when they have Gottfrid Svartholm and Julian Assange in the country?

    Dave

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