OECD Internet Economy Outlook 2012

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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 inter-meshed.

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, broadband, e-commerce, e-health, digital content, security and privacy, and reflects on a methodology for measuring the Internet economy.


Methodological considerations

In September 2011, the OECD organised an expert roundtable that focused on appropriate terminology, measurement concepts and methodologies to measure the Internet economy. The roundtable assembled policy makers, researchers and representatives from academia and the business community. The participants concluded that the term Internet economy referred to various quantifiable economic impacts of the Internet, and recognised that this concept varied in scope. Consequently, the roundtable adopted three general approaches that involved measuring the: i) direct impact; ii) dynamic impact; and iii) indirect impact of the Internet economy ().




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