UK overtakes Japan and Hong Kong in internet race

The UK has leapt ahead of Hong Kong, Japan and Luxembourg in the United Nations internet connectivity table. The International Telecommunication Union marked up the UK's position, from 11th place in 2011, to eighth place in 2012, overtaking Hong Kong and Japan. South Korea came top in the table for third year running while Niger came last. The ITU a UN agency, reports every year on the state of internet connectivity using 11 indicators. (Release)

In 2012 80 per cent of UK households had had an internet connection in the last year. The report attributed the UK's success to its competitive market leading to some of the cheapest fixed and mobile broadband rates anywhere in the world.

The report also highlighted the problem of the lack of internet access in the developing world.

Hamadoun Toure, the ITU's secretary general said:

Our most pressing challenge is to identify ways to enable those countries which are still struggling to connect their populations to deploy the networks and services which will lift them out of poverty.

Currently 90 per cent of the world's 1.1bn households are not connected to the internet with the primary barrier being cost. In half of African countries fixed broadband cost 40 per cent of the average wage. This is a huge gulf from the UN's target, that the cost of internet access is at or below 5 per cent of a country's average monthly age. Despite the addition of 250m users to the web in 2012, the UN's broadband commission targets for 2015 are not expected to be met.