EC report: Digital on move in Europe


BRUSSELS -- Some 28% of European households are currently connected to the Internet via high-speed broadband, 20% have bundled telecom packages and 63% favor free-to-air TV over pay TV, according to figures released Friday by the European Commission.

The statistics reveal the steady transformation in European television, Internet and telephone habits as new technologies become available.

"Europe's digital economy is growing strongly as more and more households embrace convergence between fixed, mobile and Internet services," EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said. "The challenge of this year's reform of the EU's telecom rules will be to respond to this rapidly changing technological environment while enhancing ... effective competition."

The figures show that 97% of households in the EU's 27 member nations have television, 45% have aerials, 35% have cable and 21% have satellite TV. The survey of 27,000 households also revealed that broadband connections rose 6% last year to 28%, narrowband fell 3% to 12%, but most households access the Internet via an ADSL line (53%) and 34% of broadband connections are wireless.

While 17% of Europeans with a home Internet connection say that it is used for making phone calls, this figure is twice as large in the 12 new EU members that joined in 2004 and 2007.

As more households connect to the Internet (42%), the reason for not connecting is increasingly non-financial, with 45% saying that it is simply because they are not interested. Another issue is spam, with 28% of Europeans saying they suffered significantly from problems with spam, viruses and spyware.

The figures reveal that consumers are increasingly switching from fixed to mobile telephony. Although the percentage of households with at least one mobile phone remains stable at 81%, the share of mobile-only households rose 4% (to 22%), while households with at least one fixed line fell 5% (to 72%).