An OECD report released in Budapest today attributes an expansion of broadband connectivity to helping the ICT sector become a bright spot in the economy during the downturn — with ICT sector revenues growing 6 percent annually between 2000 and 2011 for top firms. Top ICT firms are also adding jobs hiring 14 million people in 2011, a 6 percent increase over 2010, with Internet firms outperforming the sector. The report said that 70 percent of OECD households have broadband Internet access and it’s reshaping the way people live by bringing access to a larger variety of goods and services online at lower prices. The report noted that wireless broadband connections are now double that of fixed broadband subscriptions in the OECD.

The OECD report said that it is inherently hard to quantify the economic impact of the Internet because of the lack of a widely accepted methodology or single measure to capture the whole Internet economy. But it did say that data shows at least 3 percent and up to 13 percent of “business sector value added in the United States in 2010 could be attributed to Internet-related activities”. Equally, integration of internet use in business has lead to improved efficiency and rapid growth of new businesses.

The good news extends to the entertainment sector with the sale of digital content increasing dramatically with, for example, 29% of recorded music industry revenues coming from digital.

The following comments can be attributed to CCIA Vice President and Brussels director James Waterworth:

“This report underlines the key role of the Internet in job creation and restoring growth both via the value ICT firms create and the indirect effects on the rest of the economy The ICT sector, especially Internet services with 31% average annual revenue growth between 2000-2011, grew tremendously at a time when most other sectors were seeing flat growth and declines. This underscores the need to promote Internet openness and balanced approaches to intellectual property policy so that the tech sector can continue to thrive and help lead the economic recovery.”

“The OECD report is useful for all policymakers, but particularly European ones searching for sources of growth, as it shows how the Internet economy drives job creation. To create jobs, policy makers must ensure that legislation will not harm the Internet economy and ensure that vested interests do not impede these important economic, political and social changes.

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