Households using Internet connection, 2006-2009


Observations for policy

Internet usage and access to broadband are diffusing rapidly across the European regions. Although Northern Europe stands out, more and more regions are being integrated into the digital networks and moving into higher levels of access and usage by its citizens. An interesting feature of this development is the fact that high living standards do not seem to be a prerequisite to take part in this development. Thus, in terms of Internet usage, the rollout in Europe appears proceeding very favourably both in terms of scope and scale.

Policy context

Innovation is a key dimension of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the future EU Structural Funds. This is based on a broad understanding of innovation, including the social dimension and the necessary technical infrastructures.

One of the flagship initiatives in this field is the Digital Agenda for Europe. The aim of this initiative is to create a single digital market based on fast and ultrafast Internet and interoperable applications. The target for 2020 is to provide to EU citizens high-speed Internet access.

Map interpretation

The map shows the average broadband penetration rate (i.e. households with broadband access) as a social dimension of innovation. This is understood as a regional precondition for innovation and directly linked to strategic visions on innovation.

It demonstrates that there are evident signs of national patterns, reflecting national broadband infrastructure projects, both public as well as private. Regions with higher broadband penetration can be found in the Nordic countries and the Netherlands. Moreover, capital regions show strong performance in innovation diffusion, compared to other regions in the same country.

South-Eastern regions in Romania, Greece, Italy, and Cyprus, but also some parts of Spain show a rather consistent lag when compared to regions in North-West Europe.

There is a non-linear relationship of the technology curve adoption as a function of a region’s development stage. This is illustrated by the similar rates of broadband penetration in Polish and Baltic regions with relatively lower standards of living, but also in some regions of Ireland and Northern Italy.

Concepts and metohds

Eurostat collects data for the bradband penetration (i.e. percentage of households with broadband access) in annual surveys. Broadband or high-speed Internet connections are defined as those Internet connections that have a capacity equal to or higher than 144 Kbits/s. For each of the years between 2006 and 2009 there is large data gaps. The map presents therefore a four-year average of the 2006 to 2009 surveys. Moreover, in some countries, namely France, Poland, Germany, data are collected at NUTS1.