The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee of Britain, has won the first Millennium Technology Prize worth €1m.

'The Web has significantly enhanced many people's ability to obtain information central to their lives,' Pekka Tarjanne, former secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union and chairman of the award selection committee, said.

'The Web is encouraging new types of social networks, supporting transparency and democracy, and opening up novel avenues for information management and business development,' Tarjanne added.

Berners-Lee, 48, was born in Britain and is currently director of the World Wide Web Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

With a background in system design in real-time communications and text-processing software development, he invented the Web while working at CERN, world's largest particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. The web was first made available to the public in 1991.

Berners-Lee created the first server, browser, and protocols central to the operation of the Web: the URL address, HTTP transmission protocol and HTML code.

Finland created the Millennium Technology Prize to recognise international achievements in technology, honouring 'outstanding technological achievement specifically directed to the advancement of society and its ability to sustain people's quality of life.'

Funded by eight public and private Finnish organisations, the prize will be awarded every second year.