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Economy in the doldrums? Get everybody surfing, quick

Germany, US, and UK top a broadband study which claims there is a link between spending on telecoms infrastructure and GDP.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Germany, the US, and the UK have been ranked as the best connected countries according to research which also claims increasing spending on broadband can help economic growth.

Networking company Huawei took a number of statistics across 25 countries — including number of IP addresses per capita, investment in telecoms, fixed broadband costs, download speeds, and number of app downloads — and used them to calculate what it calls its 'global connectivity index'. Boosting a country's score on the index by one point sees gross domestic product increase by between 1.4 and 1.9 percent, the company said.

At the launch of the research in Shanghai, William Xu, executive director and head of strategy at Huawei, said: "We tried to find the correlations between the quality of connectivity and the level of economic development. The better the connectivity, the more GDP will grow."

While it's no surprise that a network infrastructure company would tout the benefits of spending more on network infrastructure (and some could argue that economic growth leads to increased smartphone and broadband use rather than the other way around), other studies have linked faster internet connections to better economic prospects.

A study commissioned by the UK government last year said that for every £1 of public money invested in broadband by the government, the UK economy benefits by £20. The bulk of this is down to improvements in the productivity of firms using that broadband, but there were also a "significant benefits from safeguarding employment in areas which would otherwise be at an unfair disadvantage".

The networking-to-smartphones company predicts that by 2025 there will be eight billion smartphone users worldwide (up from 1.7 billion last year) and 100 billion connected devices, meaning extra traffic over existing fixed and wireless networks. It calculates that total internet traffic reached around half a zetabyte last year and that this will rise by more than seven-fold by 2017.

The 15 most connected countries, according to Huawei's research, are:

  1. Germany
  2. US
  3. UK
  4. Chile
  5. Japan
  6. South Korea
  7. France
  8. New Zealand
  9. Canada
  10. Mexico
  11. Brazil
  12. Russia
  13. Italy
  14. China
  15. India

Steve Ranger visited China as a guest of Huawei

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