A new global Web index launched by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has found that Australian ranked eighth best in utilising the Internet to improve people's lives, both socially and politically. Sweden ranked first, followed by the U.S. in second and the UK in third.
In the new global survey, 61 countries were checked and ranked by the Sir Tim Berners-Lee World Wide Web Foundation, so-named after the legendary computer scientist and Web inventor, based on usage and impact of the Web using data from the past five years.
Each nation was scored based on seven categories, including communication infrastructure, institutional infrastructure, Web content, Web use, political impact, economic impact, and social impact.
Apart from Sweden, the U.S. and the UK, Canada and Finland completed the top five. Joining Australia from sixth to tenth were Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway and Ireland, respectively.
"By shining a light on the barriers to Web for everyone, the index is a powerful tool that will empower individuals, government and organisations to improve their societies," Mr Berners-Lee told the BBC, noting that 30 per cent of countries were found to be facing moderate to severe government restrictions on Web site access.
"The Web is a global conversation. Growing suppression of free speech, both online and offline, is possibly the single biggest challenge to the future of the Web," Mr Berner-Lee added.
The top 10 nations in the index were filled out by wealthier democracies with passable technological infrastructure. They also have fewer restrictions on access to the net and all more or less speak English.
The top 10 countries on the global web index:
2. United States
7. New Zealand
The bottom 10:
59. Burkina Faso