The Internet is now a fundamental infrastructure supporting the economy and is firmly in its 2nd stage of development, having evolved from a data network connecting PCs with wires to a much broader network of new portable devices from mobile phones to tablet computers. It is also on the cusp of a much larger expansion to objects that typically did not have communications capabilities: the “Internet of things” is projected to have more connections than the people using them. This raises many important socio-economic and political issues for stakeholders to consider, as economies and societies become increasingly intermeshed.
Supported by time series data, this publication begins with an overview of trends and highlights how the Internet sector has proven to be resilient during the recent economic crisis. It then examines the various drivers and impacts of Internet use and deployment, as well as emerging technologies, e-health, digital content, security and privacy, and reflects on a methodology for measuring the Internet economy.