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Top-ranked "e-ready" countries
IBM and the intelligence unit of British magazine The Economist released on Tuesday their annual "e-readiness rankings" of 68 countries. Here is the first half of the list, topped by Denmark, which scored 9 out of a possible 10 points, followed closely by the United States and Switzerland.
According to the study, Denmark takes good advantage of the Internet, both in connecting citizens securely over broadband and wireless networks and in using its near-ubiquitous hookups for Internet banking and government services such as tax returns.
"E-procurement (for public services) is saving Danish businesses 50 million euros ($62.1 million) and taxpayers as much as 150 million euros ($186.54 million) per year. The rest of Europe is expected to follow Denmark's lead," the study said.
Second tier of "e-ready" countries
The second half of the most Web-savvy nations includes India, ranking 53, and China, 57. Although the study said the worldwide digital divide is narrowing, the difference between the list's Web-savviest nation, Denmark, and the least e-ready country of its top 68 countries, Azerbaijan, remains huge, with respective scores of 9 and 2.9 out of a possible 10.
In central and eastern Europe, mobile-phone penetration is ubiquitous, but fixed-line Internet connections are not widely available, while the business and legal environment can be weak. Overall, the region remains well behind developed markets in the European Union, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, according to the study.