The Internet got its start in the United States, where it's now a major part of virtually every American's daily life. Yet, for all its online innovation, the U.S. lags pretty far behind other countries when it comes to having the fastest Internet.
Several other countries outshine the U.S. in terms of their communications infrastructure. That's according to an ongoing analysis of communications infrastructures monitored by the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The ITU has developed an index, the Information and Communication Technologies Development Index (IDI). It compares countries on their access to the Internet and other communication technologies. The idea is to ensure that people living in underdeveloped countries have access to the Internet.
So, which country ranks No. 1? That's South Korea, which has an 8.93 IDI. It also ranked No. 1 in 2010, with an 8.64 IDI.
The United States isn't in bad shape, with an 8.19 IDI. Its ranking, No. 15, is up from 16 in 2010 when it had a 7.30 IDI. (See chart.)
Other countries with high IDIs include Denmark, Iceland, the United Kingdom and Sweden. They rank No. 2 through No. 5, respectively. The UK, notably, improved its ranking from No. 10 five years ago.