South Korea beats the rest of the world in "digital opportunity", thanks to the widespread use of broadband internet services, according to new United Nations rankings published yesterday.
Japan, a leader in mobile internet telephony, Denmark, Iceland and Hong Kong come next in a top 10 made up exclusively of East Asian and European economies, including the UK in seventh place, reports Trend.
The US, despite its technological dominance, ranks only 21, behind Estonia.
The "digital opportunity index", compiled by the International Telecommunication Union, is intended to measure progress towards global goals to narrow the digital divide between rich and poor countries and provide near-universal access to information and communications technologies (ICT).
The report notes "dramatic progress" by developing countries, notably India, where digital opportunity almost doubled between 2001 and 2005. India's improvement has been driven primarily by market liberalisation and lower prices. However, it still ranks low on the overall index at 119, dragged down by poor infrastructure that threatens expansion of its successful business process outsourcing operations.
China (74) and Russia (60), where the emphasis has been on infrastructure, have also climbed up the index.
*Bertrand DelanoГ", the mayor of Paris, yesterday outlined plans to instal 400 free wi-fi points in public spaces and to cut licence fees for the existing fibre optic network by 25 per cent, with the tax break rising to 90 per cent for new cables.