A new index charting the state of the web in 61 countries has ranked Sweden number one in the world, with the UK holding a strong position in third.
The Sir Tim Berners-Lee World Wide Web Foundation, named after the legendary computer scientist, ranked the usage and impact of the web across the globe using data from the past five years. Seven different categories were used to score each nation: communication infrastructure, institutional infrastructure, web content, web use, political impact, economic impact, and social impact.
The United States was placed second after Sweden, while Canada and Finland completed the top five. Ranked sixth to tenth were Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Ireland.
Ireland in fact gained the highest score for economic impact with a sizeable 14.8 per cent of its gross domestic product coming from ICT service exports between 2007 and 2010. On web use alone, Iceland ranked highest with 95 per cent of its population online. Across Africa, only one in six use the web, compared to one in three globally.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC why he thought the index was important. "By shining a light on the barriers to web for everyone, the index is a powerful tool that will empower individuals, government and organisations to improve their societies," a significant point given the index found that 30 per cent of countries were facing moderate to severe government restrictions on website access.
"The web is a global conversation. Growing suppression of free speech, both online and offline, is possibly the single biggest challenge to the future of the web," added Berner-Lee.