Berners-Lee launches international index to chart political and social impact of web

By Peter Gothard
06 Sep 2012 View Comments
British physicist and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist credited with inventing the world-wide web, has launched a global index to track the social and political impact of his creation around the globe.

Hosted at, the Web Index calls itself "the world's first multi-dimensional measure of the Web's growth, utility and impact on people and nations".

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Reporting statistics on 61 developed and developing countries, the Web Index is run as part of Berners-Lee's World-Wide Web Foundation, inviting charitable donations from all over the world.

Measuring the effect of the web in different countries, the index currently ranks the UK as third in the world. The UK, says the Index, demonstrates a 94.07 per cent web readiness, which is a measure of the quality and extent of web connectivity infrastructure in the country.

Web use and content, meanwhile, score a combined 94.69 per cent, though in terms of web use alone, the UK gets just 80.25 per cent, putting it in 8th place on the global list.

The UK's web impact scores 87.86 per cent – 4th in the global rankings.

In overall global positioning, the US takes second place, with a readiness of 94.98 per cent and a combined web use and content score of 100 per cent. Sweden, which sits in first place, enjoys web index and impact scores of 100 per cent, with a readiness of 96.76 per cent.

China's lowly position at 29th could be attributed to the country's continuing policy to limit the international scale of its web connectivity.

Berners-Lee yesterday told the BBC that the Web Index is "setting the agenda" for the way in which the world should be using the web.

The computer scientist continues to campaign for internet neutrality, and an open web of shared information, in what he calls "social machines" of decentralised data. 

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