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A competitive telecoms market has helped cement the UK's reputation as one of the strongest internet-based economies in the world, it has been claimed.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Communication, praised the UK's broadband infrastructure after the nation was ranked top of all G20 nations in terms of the amount the internet contributes to GDP. 

The report, which was published by the Boston Consulting Group, forecast that the UK's online industry will grow at an annual rate of 11 per cent until 2016.

The internet generated £121 billion for the UK in 2010, according to the report, which adds up to more than £2,000 per person.

A solid broadband infrastructure is needed to support a growing number of web-related businesses.

"The best super-fast broadband in Europe doesn't just include the headline speeds, it also includes the cost," Mr Vaizey told Sky News.

"We have a very competitive telecoms market in the UK, which means actually most people can access broadband at a decent price.

"That's a very important factor. There's no point having a super-fast pipe going past your house if you can't actually connect on to it."

The consulting group's report also highlighted that if the internet was viewed as an industry in its own right it would be the fifth largest in the UK, ahead of healthcare, education and construction.

With the web being such an important part of the UK's economy, businesses will be pleased to hear Prime Minister David Cameron's plans for improving the UK's broadband infrastructure.

In a speech on national infrastructure at the Institute of Civil Engineering, Mr Cameron said that the UK should aim to establish itself as a global leader in telecommunications.

According to data from Ofcom, the average broadband speed in the UK rose by 22 per cent in the year to November 2011 and now stands at 7.6Mb.

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