The index 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. Google provided $1 million in seed funding to develop the index.
“Much of the web research that exists today measures quantifiable metrics, such as the number of web users, speed of access, the number of broadband subscribers, or covers particular single-dimensions such as economic impact or censorship,” said Sir Timothy.
“To better measure progress to developing a more open and meaningful web, and for the web to attain its full potential as a transformative tool that can improve living standards, reduce conflict and improve governance and well-being, it is important to understand how the web impacts social, developmental, economic and political dimensions as well.”
Australia ranks eighth in the index. Sweden is first, followed by the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand. Countries are rated on seven different factors. Australia ranks fifth in the social impact of the web, but only 14th in its economic impact.
Sir Timothy said that by compiling data across many different dimensions of web health, and making the information freely available, the Web Index “will help us understand how we can maximise the impact of the web.”
The Index measures and ranks:
- Web Readiness: the quality and extent of the communications infrastructure that facilitates connectivity to the web, and the institutional infrastructure – policies regulating web access and skill and educational levels
- Web Usage: both within countries (such as the percentage of individuals who use the Internet) and the content available to web users.
- Web Impact: the Index uses social, economic and political indicators to evaluate the impact of the web on these dimensions. This includes measures of social networks, business internet use and e-participation.
The full index can be found at www.webfoundation.org