Internet access and use is widespread amongst the EU population. In the EU27, more than three quarters of households1 had access to the internet in 2012, compared with just under half in 2006. The proportion of households who have a broadband internet connection has increased more significantly. In 2012, 72% of EU27 households had access to the internet via a broadband connection, compared with 30% in 2006.
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, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. As well as internet use and broadband connections, the survey also covers other indicators such as mobile use of the internet, e-commerce and e-government. The findings are used for monitoring several EU policies, in particular the Digital Agenda for Europe3.
In every Member State, at least 1 household out of 2 has a broadband connection
While the level of internet access increased in all Member States between 2006 and 2012, differences however remain significant. In 2012, shares of internet access of 90% and over were recorded in the Netherlands (94%), Luxembourg (93%) and Denmark and Sweden (both 92%), while shares just over 50% were registered in Bulgaria (51%), Greece and Romania (both 54%).
Broadband internet access enables higher speed when browsing and performing activities over the internet. In 2012, in every Member State at least half of households had a broadband connection. Sweden (87%) registered the highest share of broadband connections, followed by Denmark and Finland (both 85%), the Netherlands (83%), Germany (82%) and the United Kingdom (80% in 2011).
Portuguese internet users more active on social media, Finish for banking and travel
While sending and receiving e-mails as well as finding information about goods or services remained the most common online activities (89% and 83% respectively of those who had used the internet within the last three months) in the EU27 in 2012, other activities are also widespread among EU27 internet users4: 61% read online news, 54% used internet banking services, 52% posted messages to social media and 50% used services related to travel. In 2012, creating websites or blogs was much less common, even if 9% of internet users already undertook this activity.
Lithuania (92% of internet users) and Estonia (91%) had the highest percentages of those having used the internet in 2012 for reading online news and newspapers, while France had the lowest proportion (38%). Finland was the leading Member State for internet banking (91% of internet users) and online travel services (69%). Portugal had the largest share of internet users who posted messages to social media (75% of internet users), and the Czech Republic (35%), France (40%) and Germany (42%) the lowest. The Netherlands (17%) and Hungary (16%) recorded a proportion of internet users who created websites and blogs in 2012 that was almost double the EU27 average.