The UK is lagging behind in adoption of information communications and technology (ICT) to support economic growth, according to research by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
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The latest annual Global Information Technology Report shows the UK now ranks 15th from a list of 138 countries analysed by WEF, down from 13th position last year. The reason for the decline is failings in the education system, says the report - the UK ranks 55th in maths and science education.
Areas covered by the WEF report include general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT, as well as the readiness of individuals, businesses and governments to use and benefit from ICT. The report also looks at the usage of available ICT.
The report ranks Sweden and Singapore as the most competitive countries in the digital economy, followed by Switzerland and the US.
WEF predicts that broadband penetration will have significant implications for productivity gains and new opportunities for individuals. About 90% of the Swedish population has regular web access.
The UK government sill has some way to go in that respect, despite the fact that it has committed £850m to its broadband plan. It also started the Race Online 2012 programme, which is intended to mitigate digital exclusion.