Digital divide in Europe

A new study of broadband penetration rates in Europe suggests that by 2008, the proportion of homes with high speed Internet access could vary from 5% in Greece to 45% in Norway.

The figures were compiled by Forrester Research, who concluded in their report that: ‘Europe’s broadband riches will be unevenly split along a clear north/south divide.’ By 2008, Forrester predicts that 30% of all homes in Europe will have broadband.

Lars Godell, a senior analyst at Forrester, said: ‘Scandinavia and the Netherlands will dominate the ratings, German-speaking Europe, Belgium, Finland, and the UK will form a second tier and Southern Europe and Ireland will continue to lag.’

The difference in broadband proliferation between the first and second tier countries is due to lower overall online penetration rates and higher subscription charges for broadband, according to Forrester. Over 40% of homes in the first tier countries are expected to enjoy high speed access by 2008, compared with between 25 and 30% in second tier nations.

Mr. Godell describes the lower rates of broadband penetration in Southern Europe and Ireland as: ‘unsurprising, given these countries’ lower overall levels of Internet usage.’ Levels of access by 2008 in these countries are expected to range from 5% in Greece to 24% in Italy.

On the web