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Tuesday, 22nd December 2015

Bridging the Digital Divide in the EU

Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

From Summary:

Digital technologies play an important role in the everyday life of most Europeans; the internet allows people, businesses and governments to transform the ways they communicate and engage with one another. Yet some parts of the population are still excluded from using these new methods. Improving the EU fast broadband internet infrastructure is as important as upgrading the digital skills of citizens: 10% increase in broadband penetration may raise gross domestic product (GDP) by 1-1.5%, and by 2020, 90% of jobs will require some digital skills.

The digital divide has been substantially reduced over the last decade in Europe, but the gap remains far from closed: according to the 2015 European Commission's Digital Agenda Scoreboard, two related targets have already been met (all EU households can access basic broadband and 75% of all Europeans are regular internet users). However, there is a danger that targets related to fast and ultra-fast speed broadband will be missed, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, important challenges on internet use remain, as about half of the less-educated and the elderly in the population do not use it regularly, and about 58 million EU citizens (aged 16-74 years old) have never used it at all.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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