The internet is worth £100bn a year to the UK economy, a study has concluded.
The research, which was commissioned by Google, found that the internet accounts for 7.2% of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP).
If the internet was an economic sector it would be the UK's fifth largest, said the report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
This would make the sector larger than the construction, transport and utilities industries.
Some 60% of the £100bn a year figure is made up from internet consumption - the amount that users spend on online shopping and on the cost of their connections and devices to access the web.
The rest comes from investment in the UK's internet infrastructure, government IT spending and net exports.
The report, The Connected Kingdom: How the internet is transforming the UK, says that the internet's contribution to GDP is set to grow by about 10% annually, reaching 10% of GDP by 2015.
The UK, according to the report, is the world's leading nation for e-commerce. For every £1 spent online to import goods, £2.80 is exported.
BBC News - UK internet economy 'worth billions'
Point, provided the new government does not screw it up the UK could, as Tony Blair set out to do 10 years, become a world leader in Internet technology, perhaps at the level of the US or Korea, perhaps better than either. This is the promise that attracted me here 10 years ago and hearing of recent cuts in things like Nanotechnology research I have started to have my doubts. But in the end the UK has no choice, it is too expensive to make things on this Island and the banks are no sure source of long term economic growth. The UK must go the route of Information Technology.