The UK has risen dramatically in a global ranking of the countries benefiting most from information and communications technology.
The UK has moved from 10th to 7th place in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) network readiness index – the biggest improvement among the world’s top 10 economies over the past year.
The index of 144 countries claims to be the most authoritative and effective assessment of the effect of ICT on the competitiveness of nations and the well-being of their citizens.
According to the WEF, the UK offers one of the most "conducive political and regulatory environments" for ICT development in the world.
The take-up of ICT in the UK is pervasive in the home, in business and in government, the WEF said in a report published this week.
Download the WEF report
“ICT is important for a service-based economy like the UK, and country has made ICT a strategic priority,” Beñat Bilbao, senior economist at the WEF, told Computer Weekly.
The UK is eclipsed only by the Nordic countries and Singapore, which have a stronger track record of exploiting ICT in manufacturing to develop innovative products.
The emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China continue to lag behind in the ratings, according to the report.
The rapid economic growth some of these countries have experienced may be in jeopardy in the future unless they make the right investments in ICT, skills and innovation, the WEF warned.
The report highlighted investment in broadband as one of the key factors in driving economic growth.
The UK aims to offer all home access to a minimum level of service of 2Mbps by 2015.
This compares with Germany, which plans to offer 50Mbps to 75% of households by 2014, and Sweden, which aims to offer 90% of households 100Mbps by 2020.
“Economies that fail to implement national broadband strategies risk losing ground in global competitiveness,” said Robert Pepper, a vice-president at Cisco, and one of the report’s sponsors.