Australia has ranked 17 amongst 138 nations under the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Network Readiness” index.
The most networked nation in the world was Sweden, thanks to 90 pe cent of its 9 million citizens having internet access, ICT’s role in delivering basic services and its high number of patents.
The WEF’s index [pdf] was designed to gauge how conducive national environments were to ICT development, and the interest in and use of technology by government, business and citizens.
Australia was also behind Singapore, the US, Taiwan, Canada and the UK under the headline index. It was one spot ahead of New Zealand.
“Australia’s performance is fairly stable at 17th overall, with a score unchanged from last year. The country’s notable competitive advantage is the quality of the general environment (13th), in particular the political and regulatory framework (7th),” the report said.
Australian and New Zealand government spending on fibre networks were noted as ways that governments could address failures by the private sector to invest in infrastructure.
Australia also offered a number of advantages for technology startups, according to WEF "market environment" indexes, based on surveys of each country.
New Zealand and Australia offered the least hurdles to start a business, topping the list on time and procedures.
Australia ranked 12th, one place ahead of the US, on the ease of access to venture capital for risky projects, but high tax was seen as an impediment.
Australia lagged at 22nd spot on the availability of the latest technologies and dropped further due to the prevalence of “well-developed and deep clusters” of technology development.
Australia was also behind much of Europe and North America with regards to the availability of digital content.