Brief – Poor lag behind in access to the internet

Women have overtaken men in the use of ICT and the elderly are
taking up the new skills, but the poor still lag behind, says a new
EU report on digital divide.

The report, ‘eInclusion revisited: the local dimension of the
information society’, concludes that differences in usage of
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) remain both between
member states, regions, urban and rural areas and according to
socio-economic criteria, age and gender. In some cases
these gaps are narrowing and may one day disappear, but for
people with low levels of income and education there are no such
encouraging signs.

Luxembourg and the UK have caught up with the Nordic countries
and the Dutch with an internet access rate above 50 per
cent. Portugal and Greece score the lowest and have been
overtaken by all the new member states, where at least
one quarter of their population use the internet. Before EU
enlargement, an average of 43.5 per cent of EU
citizens were using the internet. In the EU-25 the
number has fallen to 41.4 per cent and remote and rural
areas all over the EU still lack even basic internet
connections.

eInclusion is closely linked to various EU activities in social
and regional aspects of the information society. Achieving “an
information society for all” is the eEurope
2005
’s objective. It consists of overcoming social and
geographical differences to ensure that everyone can
access the internet and be part of an inclusive digital
society. 

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