Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
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Internet access remains a luxury in much of the world, with only 1 in 3 people using it globally © stock.xchng (Hugo Humberto Pl├ícido da Silva, hugoslv)

JRC assessed the first ever Web Index


According to the Web Index presented in London on 5 September 2012, Sweden, US and UK are the three countries in the world where the web is most used. The study, which was assessed by JRC scientists, also shows that internet access remains a luxury in much of the world, with only 1 in 3 people using it globally, and that high broadband prices and trends toward censorship are major barriers to making the Web useful to all. The Web Index is the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the impact of the Web on people and nations.

The Web Index, launched by Sir Tim Berners-Lee on behalf of the World Wide Web Foundation, ranks nations from around the world on the health and uptake of the Web, and provides practical insights on what countries can do to better harness the potential of the Web. The new measure is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment to date of the Web’s impact around the world. It ranks 61 countries on Web readiness and use, as well as the political, economic and social value they extract from the Web. The statistical analysis performed by JRC's scientists shows that the Web Index is a solid and robust measure.

The JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) contributed to the Index through a rigorous statistical analysis which provided a twofold assessment: a validation of the expert assessment survey, used to obtain about 60% of the indicators included in the Web Index, and an analysis of robustness of country scores and ranks with respect to different settings of the Index. Results show the Web Index as a robust measure from the statistical point of view, although some improvements are suggested of the survey questionnaire for future releases.

The Index combines primary data, coming from an ad hoc expert assessment survey, and secondary data coming from official datasets. It consists of 85 underlying indicators across seven components and three sub-indexes. The seven components describe available communication and institutional infrastructure, Web content and use and how use of the Web affects the economic, political and social fabric of each country. Components are combined into 3 sub-indexes measuring the readiness of each country to take up the challenge offered by the Web, the extent of Web development and the impact observed so far.