For many people today it seems difficult to live without the internet, however a decreasing, but still non-negligible, part of the EU population has never used it. In the EU27, almost three quarters of households1 had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2011, compared with almost half in the first quarter of 2006. The share of households with broadband internet connections more than doubled between 2006 and 2011, to reach 68% in 2011 compared with 30% in 2006. During the same period, the share of individuals aged 16-74 in the EU27 who had never used the internet decreased from 42% to 24%.
These data2 published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, represent only a small part of the results of a survey on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals in the EU27 Member States, Iceland, Norway, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. As well as internet use and broadband connections, the survey also covers other indicators such as e-commerce, e-skills and e-government.
Household internet access ranges from 45% in Bulgaria to 94% in the Netherlands
The level of internet access increased in all Member States between 2006 and 2011, however differences remain significant. In 2011, shares of internet access of 90% and over were recorded in the Netherlands (94%), Luxembourg and Sweden (both 91%) and Denmark (90%), while shares of 50% and below were registered in Bulgaria (45%), Romania (47%) and Greece (50%).
Broadband internet access enables higher speed when browsing and performing activities over the internet. The proportion of households with a broadband connection rose in all Member States in 2011 compared with 2006. Sweden (86%) registered the highest share of broadband connections in 2011, followed by Denmark (84%), the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (both 83%) and Finland (81%), while Romania (31%), Bulgaria (40%) and Greece (45%) had the lowest.
Share of those who never used the internet varies between 5% in Sweden and 54% in Romania
The target set for 2015 by the Digital Agenda for Europe3 is to reduce the share of individuals in the EU27 aged 16-74 who had never used the internet to 15%. This share stood at 24% in the EU27 in 2011. In 2011, the highest proportions of those having never used the internet were observed in Romania (54% of individuals aged 16-74), Bulgaria (46%), Greece (45%), Cyprus and Portugal (both 41%), and the lowest in Sweden (5%), Denmark and the Netherlands (both 7%), Luxembourg (8%) and Finland (9%).
E-commerce most frequent in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and Sweden
Almost half of internet users4 aged 16-74 in the EU27 used the internet within the last 12 months to obtain information from websites of public authorities, and 28% to submit completed forms to public authorities, for example tax declarations (e-government). In 2011, the largest proportions of internet users who obtained information from websites of public authorities were observed in Denmark (86% of internet users), Sweden (74%), Finland (65%), Estonia and the Netherlands (both 62%). The highest shares of those having used the internet for submitting completed forms to public authorities were recorded in Denmark (70% of internet users), the Netherlands (52%), Portugal (48%) and Estonia (46%).
In 2011, 58% of internet users in the EU27 had ordered goods or services over the internet
(e-commerce) within the last 12 months. The highest shares were observed in the United Kingdom (82%), Denmark and Germany (both 77%) and Sweden (75%).