Ireland ranked 10th in Tim Berners-Lee web index
Ireland has come 10th in a new global index of the state of the web in 61 countries around the world.
The study, which was launched by Tim Berners-Lee on behalf of the World Wide Web Foundation, placed Sweden in first place for putting the web to work, followed by the US and the UK.
The top 10 is rounded out by Canada, Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Ireland, respectively. Nepal is placed bottom of the list, followed by Cameroon, Mali, Bangladesh, Namibia, Ethiopia, Benin, Burkino Faso, Zimbabwe and Yemen.
According to the study, Ireland outpaces all other countries in the index in terms of the web’s effects on its economy. It notes that between 2007 and 2010, ICT service exports accounted for 14.8pc of GDP —exponentially ahead of any other nation.
Ireland is ranked sixth for overall impact, tenth for the web and eleventh for readiness.
However, the study states that there is considerable room for improvement in other areas. For example, the political impact of the web (21) in Ireland is substantially lower than any of the countries in the top 10, ranking below nations including Chile, Colombia and Egypt. According to the Web Foundation, there is significant scope for the Government to increase the extent to which it uses the web to engage and interact with citizens.
Elsewhere, the study finds that the web remains a largely untapped resource in much of the world, with only one in three people using it globally and fewer than one in six in Africa.
The index reveals that high broadband prices and trends toward censorship are major barriers to making the web useful to all. Almost 30pc of countries covered by the Index face moderate to severe government restrictions on access to websites, while about half of them show increasing threats to press freedom.
“The web is a global conversation,” said Berners-Lee. “Growing suppression of free speech, both online and offline, is possibly the single biggest challenge to the future of the Web.”
Internet access remains a luxury in most countries, the Web Foundation said. Across the 61 countries surveyed, broadband connections still cost almost half of monthly income per capita.
“The high price of connectivity is stopping billions of people from achieving their rights to knowledge and participation,” said Berners-Lee. “Costs have got to come down dramatically.”