According to the results of the current report of the European Commission the broadband service penetration and the usage of internet services has grown with more than one third since the last report from 2004. Today more than 70 % of all Europeans use the internet regularly (at least once a week), while the European market has turned into the largest market in the world for fixed broadband access with ca.114 million subscribers.
According to the European Commission this rapid development grounds on the pro-competition policy supported by Brussels. Due to the supraeuropean measures safeguarding fair competition and pricing, the broadband services have become more accessible for all EU citizens.
The digital development, however, does not seem to to follow the same pace in all areas. A “digital divide” exists not only between the internet penetration in northern and southern Europe, but also between the different layers of society. On the one hand we can speak of “digital natives”- the most active and creative internet users, primarily good educated and wealthy youngsters, on the other of “digital aliens”- mostly elderly persons, but also people with lower level of education and income, who still do not make use of the benefits of the net.
Will the pan-european competition doctrine be able to smooth out this sociogeographical differences? Or will we have to adopt a more social approach in the formation of the European Information Society?
For further information: EU Observer