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UK overtakes major players in web connectivity rankings

Graeme Parton

The UK has climbed to eighth place in a UN table which charts internet connectivity around the world – overtaking both Japan and  Hong Kong in the process.

The latest figures saw South Korea remain in first place for the third time consecutively, while the Central African Republic and Niger finished lowest down.

Experts involved with the research have suggested that 40 per cent of people worldwide will have access to the internet before the end of 2013. They did, however, also warn that the high costs associated with net access in some of the developing countries was hindering the rate of uptake, and could be the cause of what it called a “digital divide”.

The UN said that 90 per cent of the world’s 1.1bn homes which aren’t currently connected were found in developing areas, and focused particularly on a group of 39 nations it said was not doing enough to make new technologies available; the majority of these countries were in Africa.

The researchers went on to say that this would hinder the UN’s chances of achieving the Broadband Commission’s global internet targets for 2015.

The table’s standings are based entirely on the ICT Development Index, which takes into account a total of 11 factors measuring general access as well as average skills and usage figures.

Last year’s report pointed out the major role played by competition in boosting the UK’s standing. Households across the country enjoy access to some of the cheapest broadband rates and mobile tariffs in the world, when the difference between average income and subscription costs was taken into account.

It found that around 80 per cent of homes in the UK had access to the web at the end of 2012 – this is more than twice the global average.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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