250 million Europeans regularly use Internet

More than half of Europeans are now regular Internet users, 80% of them have broadband connections and 60% of public services in the EU are fully available online. Two thirds of schools and half of doctors make use of fast Internet connections, thanks to strong broadband growth in Europe.

These are the findings of a Commission report on the results achieved so far with i2010, the EU's digital-led strategy for growth and jobs. The strategy, agreed in 2005, has led to a firm commitment to promoting ICT at EU and national levels.

The report shows, Europe's ICT policy strategy "i2010 – a European Information Society for Growth and Jobs" which has triggered new EU initiatives on regulation, research and public-private partnerships, is starting to deliver. The EU has the world's largest developed consumer market and 100 million broadband internet connections and is thus well placed to reap the economic benefits of ICT.

Some figures

  • In 2007, the Internet attracted nearly 40 million new regular users in the EU this brought the total to over 250 million.
  • More than 96% of European schools are now connected to the Internet.
  • 57% of doctors now send or receive patients' data (17% in 2002) and 46% of them receiving results from laboratories electronically (11% in 2002).
  • 77% of EU businesses had a broadband connection in 2007 (62% in 2005) and 77% use the Internet for dealing with banks (70% in 2005).

The Commission report addresses the key challenges for 2008-2010:

  • Although the EU's ICT sector is highly research-intensive, with levels above the US in Sweden (18%), Finland (17%) and Denmark (11%), it is below 1% in Slovakia, Latvia and Poland. To boost research performance, EU-funded Joint Technology Initiatives on nanoelectronics and embedded systems, e-Health and risky high-tech research will become operational in 2008.
  • Nearly 40% of Europeans do not use the Internet at all, This ranges from 69% (Romania), 65% (Bulgaria) and 62% (Greece), to 13% (Denmark, The Netherlands). To encourage use of new online technologies, the Commission will publish a Guide to EU Users' Digital Rights and Obligations later in 2008.
  • While in some countries – Austria, Czech Republic, Malta, Portugal – 100% of basic public services for businesses can be fully transacted online, others lag behind (Bulgaria, 15%, Poland, 25%, Latvia, 30%). In May, the Commission will therefore launch large-scale projects to support pan-European public services like the cross-border operation of electronic identity or electronic signatures.

What is i2010?

i2010  is the European Commission's new strategic framework laying out broad policy guidelines for the information society and the media. The purpose of this new, integrated policy is to encourage knowledge and innovation with a view to boosting growth and creating more better-quality jobs. It forms part of the revised Lisbon Strategy.