England 2 – Denmark 1

I had to get this in before John Gotze. In a new survey, sponsored by IBM, and commented on today in the FT (page 4 – doubtless you still have to subscribe to get a proper link to the text, but included here just in case) …

The government’s flagging campaign to drive Britain to the top of the internet-adoption league has received a boost from a survey that places the UK second in the world.

I’d argue with the FT’s use of the word “flagging”. I don’t see anything we’ve done so far as indicating that there’s been any flagging at all; if anything there is ever more focus and effort being put in to it all. Their justification comes from the following statements:

In 1998, it said it wanted the UK to be the best environment in the world to trade electronically by 2002.

In 1999, it said all government services should be online by 2008, a year later bringing the target forward to 2005.

It has also said it wants the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005.

However, a Cap Gemini Ernst & Young study in January suggested only half of the government’s services were online and placed the UK sixth out of 18 countries. At the same time, the Broadband Stakeholder Group said it was sixth out of seven in terms of broadband penetration in the G7.

I guess that’s the “survey says” view – how you count, who you count, what you count all shif the measures. Some people are ahead on vision, some ahead on execution. Some have coralled everyone down one route and some have let 1000 flowers bloom.

Anyway, in this survey … The UK comes second only to Denmark – so I guess my post title should say “British Lions” or UK United or something, but never mind. Funnily enough, the top 5 contains four Scandi countries and the UK.

Remember, this is about e-readiness, not e-government – our placing in e-government isolated is around 11th or so (which is worse than usual I think, but I’m not sure of the methodology). What this is assessing is broadband take-up and availability, business capability, legislation, consumer usage etc. All necessary things.

But, in the past I’ve commented on surveys that have pushed us down the table and questioned their methodology and, apparently, the way things are counted in this one has changed pushing us up a bit. Just shows that we need a survey of surveys or a poll of polls perhaps.

The full report can be found at the EB EIU site – as far as I can tell it’s available to download for free (who says content is worth only what you pay for it?).

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