According to data compiled by management consultants AT Kearney, every £1 spent on internet access - both fixed and mobile - supports the creation of £5 in revenue for the rest of the digital economy.
The company found that Britain's online market is worth £82bn to the economy, or 5.7% of gross domestic product (GPD), significantly higher than the worldwide average.
Around £37bn is generated by the "internet value chain", including connectivity services, online search advertising and device manufacturing, while e-commerce and m-commerce brings in a further £45bn.
However, it was found that 72% of all capital expenditure in the internet economy is from the providers of wired and mobile networks, such as BT, Vodafone or Virgin Media, yet only 16% of internet revenues actually flow back to those firms making the investment.
Vodafone commissioned the report ahead of the government's Communications Bill 'Green Paper'. The mobile phone giant hopes to "start the debate on the next generation regulation needed to build a strong UK internet economy".
Ministers intend to consult on new communications legislation by taking a fresh look at the internet regulatory landscape created by the 2003 Communications Act.
Further investment in internet networks is expected to come from customers increasingly making use of bandwidth-hungry services such as streaming video. Mobile data is expected to rise considerably faster as smartphone and tablet adoption grows, particularly with the introduction of 4G services.
Ofcom will hold the largest ever auction of mobile spectrum in the UK later in the year, as the mobile networks prepare to offer customers mobile broadband of up to 100Mbps and a range of high-speed "long term evolution" services.
Total UK internet traffic is expected to increase by an average of 37% year-on-year up to 2015, from 621 petabytes to 3,000 petabytes, which is the equivalent of almost 200 million albums being downloaded every day.
However, mobile network traffic is forecast to grow even faster, at 84% year-on-year to account for 11% of all traffic by 2015, compared with 2% in 2010.
The report therefore urges the government and regulators to "be mindful of the crucial role played by network providers in the internet economy".
It says that the current regulatory model for the internet is "out of step" with modern times, and warns that future growth will only come with a regulatory structure that enables network providers to invest further in the "lifeblood" of the internet economy.
Vodafone UK chief executive Guy Laurence said: "The supportive regulatory environment created by the government a generation ago encouraged the investment that resulted in the first ever mobile call by Vodafone in 1985.
"We need that same visionary approach today to support the development of the UK internet economy and the networks upon which it depends. Only this will ensure that British companies can compete on equal terms with their international rivals."
The report calls on the government to be wary of the shifting boundaries in the internet economy, and ensure that being based in the UK is not a "disadvantage".
It notes that companies delivering web services in Britain can often be based in other parts of the world, outside of UK regulation, and so this globalised world must be taken into account when creating a "level playing field" in the internet economy.
"The majority of traffic on mobile phone networks is data which supports a wide range of consumer and business services," said Mark Page, a partner at AT Kearney.
"It is in the interests of everyone in the UK who increasingly depends on the mobile Internet that investment keeps pace with demand and that the policy framework supports this level of investment."
> UK average broadband speeds up 22%, finds Ofcom