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Technology leadership sees US improve 'network readiness' ranking in global study

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USA ranked #1 in technology and #4 overall in global ‘Network Readiness Index’

Washington DC, 2 December 2021 – America’s digital economy has been ranked as the fourth-best in the world in a major new study – and number one in technology. These high rankings – a significant improvement compared to the same study a year earlier – were driven by the positive contribution technology made to the country’s economic prosperity and social development.

How top-ranked nations fared in previous years
How top-ranked nations fared in previous years

The 2021 edition of the Network Readiness Index (NRI), developed by the Portulans Institute in partnership with digital networks integrator STL, ranked 130 markets worldwide based on a broad range of indicators. These ranged from a country’s preparedness to embrace new technologies to its ability to use ICT to drive quality-of-life and social inclusion goals.

The findings are included in a new report by the Portulans Institute published today, ‘Shaping the Global Recovery: How digital technologies can help make the post-COVID world more equal’.

The USA was ranked #4 in the study – up from #8 in last year’s report – behind the Netherlands (#1), Sweden (#2) and Denmark (#3). Singapore (#7) was the only other market outside of Europe in the top ten. The USA’s overall NRI ‘score’ of 81.09 was also significantly higher than the average for high-income countries in the study (67.45).

The NRI is organized around four key pillars: Technology, People, Governance, and Impact, with subcategories within each pillar, spanning 60 metrics overall.

The USA was the number one ranked market in the Technology pillar. This reflected its global leadership in areas such as the accessibility of its digital networks (including device affordability); investment in emerging technologies such as AI and IoT; robust cybersecurity; and high citizen engagement with digital content, apps and services.

Bruno Lanvin, co-founder of the Portulans Institute and co-author of the report said:
"This year's report puts the spotlight on post-pandemic recovery with strong digital transformation strategies. Digital transformation is creating new digital divides in some global regions, but high-income markets such as the US have demonstrated success in building resilient and sustainable digital economies with strong performances across all four pillars.”

Commenting on the digital landscape in the US, Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director of STL said: “Recent moves by the US government to stimulate investment in rural broadband infrastructure reflects its commitment to making advanced digital networks available to citizens across the country. In the post-COVID era, network readiness is no longer simply about deploying new technology, but building networks that create genuine value for society – including alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – and bringing people and technology together in a new era of digital transformation.”

About Network Readiness Index (NRI)
The Network Readiness Index (NRI) is one of the leading global indices on the application and impact of ICT in economies around the world. Initially launched in 2002 by the World Economic Forum, the NRI has been published by Washington DC-based Portulans Institute since 2019. STL, the industry leading digital networks integrator, was official Knowledge Partner of the 2021 NRI report. Learn more at: https://networkreadinessindex.org/

About Portulans Institute (PI)
Founded in 2019 by Soumitra Dutta and Bruno Lanvin, Portulans Institute is an independent non-profit, nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Washington DC. PI’s areas of expertise include technology competitiveness, innovation readiness, and global talent. Learn more at https://portulansinstitute.org/

About STL
STL is an industry-leading integrator of digital networks that helps telcos, cloud companies, citizen networks and large enterprises deliver enhanced experiences to their customers.

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