Europeans are becoming increasingly “digital” according to a European Commission Eurobarometer survey which questioned 27,000 households throughout the EU on their use of internet, telephones and TV. The survey showed that more Europeans are subscribing to broadband internet, however, internet users surveyed have expressed concerns about cost, quality of service and security, as well as online freedom.
More Europeans are subscribing to broadband internet and digital television in fixed-cost bundled ‘packages’. In households with broadband connections, 30% say that the download speed does not remain constant, 36% experience connection breakdowns and 24% say that performance does not match contract conditions.
The survey nevertheless reveals that as much as 43% of EU households still do not have Internet access. Almost one in five households surveyed mentioned the high costs associated with the Internet being the reason for having no Internet connection at home. The ambitious target of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe is to have every European be digital, with enhanced competition expected to lower prices, thus encouraging more people to get an Internet connection.
98% of EU households have television but only 30% use transmission via a cable network, while 23% use digital TV, an increase of 11% compared to 2007.
98% of EU households have access to a telephone and an increasing proportion of households (87%) have access to a mobile phone. Only 11% have fixed-line access only, while 25% use only a mobile phone and have no fixed phone line. According to the survey, 61% of EU mobile phone users and 49% of landline subscribers limit their calls because of cost concerns. In addition 22% of households with internet access use their computer to make voice calls over the internet.
The survey also showed that more than one third of EU citizens use a social networking site; this is true both for countries with high (e.g. The Netherlands) and low (e.g. Latvia) internet take-up.45% are worried about their personal data being misused on social networking sites. Those under 24 years old are less worried about this than the over 40s.
21% of the European households with internet access surveyed considered that their access to certain online content and applications has been blocked by their internet provider. This is also mentioned by an equivalent proportion of mobile internet users, but around one third attribute this to the limited capacity of their phone or their phone subscription.
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