This article presents recent statistical data on several different aspects of the information society in the European Union (EU), focusing on the availability of information communication technologies and their use by individuals and within households. The development of the information society is regarded as critical to meet the demands of society and the EU economy.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) affect people’s everyday lives in many ways, both at work and in the home, for example, when communicating or buying online. EU policies range from regulating entire areas such as e-commerce to trying to protect an individual’s privacy.
Main statistical findings
ICT access and usage
During the last decade, ICT have become widely available to the general public, both in terms of accessibility as well as cost. A boundary was crossed in 2007, when a majority (55 %) of households in the EU-28 had internet access. This proportion continued to increase and in 2013 reached 79 %, rising by an additional 3 percentage points compared with 2012. Widespread and affordable broadband access is one of the means of promoting a knowledge-based and informed society. Broadband was by far the most common form of internet access in all EU Member States: it was used by 76 % of the households in the EU-28 in 2013, an increase of 34 percentage points since 2007 — see Figure 1.
The highest proportion (95 %) of households with internet access in 2013 was recorded in the Netherlands (see Figure 2), while Luxembourg, Denmark and Sweden also reported that at least 9 out of every 10 households had internet access in 2013. The lowest rate of internet access among the EU Member States was recorded in Bulgaria (54 %). However, there was a rapid expansion in household access to the internet in Bulgaria, as the proportion of households with access rose by 29 percentage points between 2008 and 2013. Romania, the Czech Republic and Greece were the only other Member States where increases of 25 percentage points or more were recorded over the same period.