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Despite being the world leader in information technology, India slipped four places to rank #50 in the world's most networked economies listing by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Global Information Technology Report
for 2007-2008 released by WEF has revealed that while India is nowhere near to the top 20 countries, Denmark is the most networked economy in the world, followed by Sweden and Switzerland.
According to the report, Asian economies that featured in the top 20 are Singapore (#5), Hong Kong (#11), Australia (#14), Taiwan (#17) and Japan (#19).
China improved five positions and has been listed at #57.
Among the top 10, the Republic of Korea (#9) and, to a lesser extent, the US (#4) have shown the most notable improvements, moving up 10 and three positions, respectively, the report said.
According to WEF, developing countries such as India were adopting next generation technologies—WiFi and WiMAX—to boost connectivity and leapfrog past technologies dependent on copper wires.
It further states that WiMAX has been publicised as 30 times faster than 3G mobile and 100 times faster than wireless data rates in India, and is being widely considered as beneficial for rural connectivity.
It has also been promoted as the answer to the country's last-mile connectivity issues, which have so far hampered Internet penetration in rural India.
"The failure of India and China to make it to the top 20 amongst the 127 countries is mainly due to their poor ICT infrastructure," WEF Senior Economist and co-editor of the report Irene Mia said.
By contrast, developed countries are striding rapidly ahead with an increased recognition of connectivity as a key component of public infrastructure in general, the report said.
"The successful experience of the Nordic countries, Singapore, the United States or Korea shows that a coherent government vision on the importance of ICT, coupled with an early focus on education and innovation, are key not only for spurring networked readiness, but also to lay the foundations for sustainable growth," she stressed.
Under the theme Fostering Innovation through Networked Readiness, this year's report places a particular focus on the role of networked readiness in spurring innovation through topics covered in the analytical chapters.
The Networked Readiness Index (NRI), featured in the report, examines how prepared countries are to use ICT effectively on three dimensions—the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; the readiness of the three key stakeholder groups (individuals, businesses and governments) to use and benefit from ICT; and their actual usage of the latest information and communication technologies available.
The NRI uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, as well as the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the WEF with its network of partner institutes.