Web Index shows web's growth & impact

The Web Index has been launched, aiming to reveal the impact of the web worldwide.

The study, launched by Tim Berners-Lee, on behalf of the Web Foundation, is a "multi-dimensional measure of the Web's growth, utility and impact on people and nations". According to the site, it covers 61 developed and developing countries, "incorporating indicators that assess the political, economic and social impact of the Web, as well as indicators of Web connectivity and infrastructure".

A Web Index press release stated that Sweden is currently the best country at putting the web to work, followed by the USA and United Kingdom. Conversely, the web remains a "largely untapped resource" in much of the world, with only one in three using it globally and just one in six in Africa. Barriers to usage are mostly the price of connectivity and trends towards online censorship. "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," warned Berners-Lee. In reaction to broadband costing almost half of monthly income per capita, Berners-Lee added that pricing must dramatically fall, to ensure people can achieve their rights to knowledge and participation. More positive findings included the increasing openness of government data and services.

The Web Index will now be published annually, with the aim of eventually enabling "comparisons of trends over time and the benchmarking of performance across countries, continuously improving our understanding of the Web's value for humanity".