Information society introduced

From Statistics Explained

Information and communication technology is considered as critical to improving the competitiveness of European industry and, more generally, to meeting the demands of Europe's economy and society. ICT affects many aspects of everyday life, both at both and at home, and the European Union's policies in this area range from the regulation of entire industrial sectors to the protection of an individual’s privacy. The use of ICT has been one of the main drivers of change at work and in the home for more than a decade.

The policy framework for ICT is the i2010 initiative, which seeks to create a ’European information society for growth and employment’ by boosting efficiency throughout the European economy by means of wider use of ICT. The initiative is designed to promote an open and competitive digital economy. It aims to boost research into information and communication technologies and their application to improve social inclusion, public services and quality of life. It is a key element of the renewed Lisbon Strategy and offers a comprehensive strategy for the ICT and media sector. Indeed, at the heart of the policy is a desire to ensure that social and geographical differences are overcome, thus creating a fully inclusive digital society. The i2010 initiative has three main priorities:

  • creating a Single European Information Space, which promotes an open and competitive internal market for the information society and media services;
  • stimulating the information society by strengthening investment in innovation and research in ICT;
  • exploiting the benefits of ICT by fostering inclusion, better public services and quality of life through the use of ICT.

Information and communication Technology will continue to be a focus of the European policy strategies as expressed in the Europe 2020 strategy for smart sustainable and inclusive growth and the Digital Agenda for Europe. The Digital Agenda sets an ambitious action plan in seven priority areas: creating a digital Single Market, interoperability, internet trust and security, fast internet access, digital skills and inclusion, investment in research and development and ICTs to tackle the challenges of climate change and ageing society. The Digital Agenda is monitored by a newly defined benchmarking framework for the years 2011 to 2015.

Eurostat information society statistics are key to monitoring these three priorities. A i2010 benchmarking framework was approved by Member States and the European Commission in 2006, which set out a comprehensive set of benchmarking indicators on internet and broadband take-up by citizens and businesses, and on the use of computers and online services.

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