Australia second to US in e-readiness, innovation, entrepreneurism

Australia ranks second behind the US in e-commerce readiness worldwide, according to a report commissioned by the Department of Communications, IT and the Arts.

The report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Pyramid Research, recognised a country's acumen in innovation and entrepreneur capabilities.

The EIU also assessed criteria such as economic strength, political stability, the regulatory environment, taxation and openness to trade and investment.

According to the report, Australia stood in second place globally for IT and communications growth because it had a regulatory regime geared for e-business, owing to the deregulation of the telecommunications industry in 1997.

Under this regime, the federal government increased the number of carriers from three to 70-plus, which the Minister for Communications and IT Senator Richard Alston, said offered users better quality and quantity of service at a lower price.

However, Senator Alston acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that there was "clearly more that can and will be done to improve the current access arrangements [for broadband] services" and to provide for greater uptake throughout Australia.

He said widespread availability of broadband was "high" on the Government's agenda, adding that Australia's broadband services were "broadly" in line with the rest of the world in price, deployment and penetration.

He also claimed Australia sat just outside the top 10 OCED countries in broadband uptake, surpassing the UK, Germany and Norway.

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