Brussels, 09 Dec 2003
Sweden has topped the international telecommunication union's (ITU) digital access index 2002, described as the world's first global rankings for information and communication technologies (ICT).
The four remaining Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland, also came in the top ten. With the Netherlands placed sixth, a strong performance by the so-called Asian Tiger economies ensured that Canada was the only country from outside Europe and Asia to finish in the top ten.
The Geneva based ITU praised the Nordic countries for their excellent ICT infrastructure, their technology friendly cultures, and their hard work in providing Internet access to all citizens.
The ITU's Michael Minges revealed that the survey had also helped to provide new evidence about the causes of digital exclusion: 'Until now, limited infrastructure has often been regarded as the main barrier to bridging the digital divide. Our research, however, suggests that affordability and education are equally important factors.'
In total, the index covers a total of 178 economies, and in an effort to avoid subjective bias, the survey measured only quantitative factors. The types of indicator used included mobile and fixed telephone coverage, the affordability and speed of Internet connections, and basic information such as literacy and school enrolment.
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