UK is a 'world leader' in the online economy  header image

Published: 6th Mar 2013

The UK is already a 'world leader' in the online economy, according to the creative industries and telecommunications minister.

Ed Vaizey was speaking at the cable congress in London, where he discussed the progress of the government's plans to put broadband "at the heart of the UK's economic growth".

He pointed to the recent scorecard released by Ofcom, which compared Britain's broadband services to those in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, as evidence of the country's progression.

In the various categories that were assessed, the UK was generally ranked between first and third out of the five nations.

Mr Davey said 100,000 new homes and businesses are currently getting access to broadband each week and take up of super-fast services in the final quarter of 2012 was "well over 650,000".

He commented: "The UK is already a world leader in the online economy, with the internet contributing more than eight per cent of gross domestic product. Our flagship businesses are tapping into global markets, and our consumers enjoy excellent choice and services when choosing their broadband and phones."

The minister said the government's aim is to demonstrate that the UK is one of the best places in the world to do business online and the rollout of high-speed connections must not be delayed by planning refusals or legal disputes. It plans for the average broadband speed in 2015 to be three times faster than in 2010.

However, while the UK generally performed well on Ofcom's scorecard, it is still lagging behind its European rivals in some areas. Ofcom found there are two super-fast connections for every 100 people in the UK, but in Spain there are currently four. Germany and Spain also provide a greater level of super-fast coverage than Britain.

Meanwhile, statistics from Ookla, which runs the popular service, show the UK has only the 18th fastest download speeds in Europe and the 24th quickest in the world. In terms of upload speeds, Britain is ranked just 50th globally.

Posted by Mark Wynn