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Sir Tim Berners-Lee launches Web Index to measure world's internet use

05 Sep 2012
British physicist and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee

Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a new global study into the reach and effects of the World Wide Web on nations across the globe, and placed the UK third in the initial list.

The Web Index - published by the World Wide Web Foundation - was unveiled at an event in London on Wednesday and ranks 61 countries around the world in order of how well they use the internet.

This index takes into account the reach, content, infrastructure and social, economic and political impact of the internet on a nation.

"I have spent most of my life with fellow geeks trying to make the web more powerful. Then I realised while we were making it more powerful only 20 percent of the world was using it," said Berners-Lee at the event.

"The Web Index allows each country to look and see what it needs to do to get more people connected to the internet, and will help countries to realise what they need to do next."

The first annual addition of the index sees Sweden taking the top spot, followed by the US and then the UK in third.

While third place is by no means bad, Berners-Lee said the UK needs to work to get more people connected to the web.

"[The UK has] got 85 percent [of its population] online, but it should be at 95 percent, which Sweden is currently at," he said. Canada in four and Finland in five rounded out the top five nations.

The Web Index, which received funding from Google, also highlights that under one in six people in Africa are connected to the internet.

Meanwhile, Yemen was ranked at the bottom of the list, as it struggles with the social and economic impact of the web in its country.

"The high price of connectivity is stopping billions of people from achieving their right to knowledge and participation," Berners-Lee said.

"Costs have got to come down dramatically."

Berners-Lee believed the launch of the Web Index will help politicians and countries improve the reach and impact of the web across the globe, which he believes to reach it's full potential, has to involve the web being open.

"The web has to be open," he said. "The biggest threat to the web is policy makers looking for ways to police it." 

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Carly Page

Carly Page joined The INQUIRER as News Editor in April 2012. Before becoming a full-time geek, Carly studied Journalism at the University of Lincoln, and dabbled in the music journalism industry. Carly's main coverage areas include mobile devices, mobile software, telecoms, mobile operators, social networks and anything Breaking Bad related.

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