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A Quarter of the EU Has Never Used the Web

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the what's-all-this-then? dept.

The Internet 392

smitty777 writes "Reuters reports that a quarter of the EU has yet to use the internet. Further, half of those in some of the southern and western states do not even have internet access at home. From the article: 'As well as highlighting geographic disparities across one of the world's most-developed regions, the figures underline the lack of opportunity people in poorer communities have to take part in advances such as the Internet that have delivered lower cost goods and service to millions of people.' The full report created by Eurostat can be found here."

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Internet at home (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380894)

"Reuters reports that a quarter of the EU has yet to use the internet. Further, half of those in some of the southern and western states do not even have internet access at home.

So half of the people that has never used the web has internet access at home?

Re:Internet at home (1, Flamebait)

thehodapp (1931332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380904)

So you failed sociology?

Re:Internet at home (1, Insightful)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381156)

Trolling much?

It is a completely relevant question. If a quarter of the population never have used the web, but half of the population has Internet access, it follows that either half those with Internet access have never used it, or that the sentence is formulated so poorly that misunderstandings are bound to ensue.

Re:Internet at home (5, Insightful)

Stalks (802193) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381252)

It doesn't say half the population. It clearly states half of "some southern and western states".

Lack comprehension much?

Re:Internet at home (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381418)

(1) "the EU" vs "those in some southern and western states";

(2) "quarter of the EU" referring to individuals vs "at home" referring to households - most households comprise more than one person.

This is the sort of reading comprehension exercise an average ten year old should have mastered.

Re:Internet at home (2)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380912)

That sentence really does sound a bit misleading, but I think they mean that half the people in southern and western states don't have internet at home. Besides, you can have the situation of the house having Internet, but only the kids using it.

Re:Internet at home (5, Insightful)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380914)

I don't see how that's a problem. In Asia lots of people just go to internet cafe, if they want to access internet. Likewise, they do so for everything. It's a cultural thing. You want to do something? You go to place that offers that service. And they aren't pricey either, it's damn cheap. I kind of like that style too, it makes it social.

Re:Internet at home (-1, Flamebait)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380960)

Fuck socialism, and I'm not talking about the governance model either. I don't like people IRL. My ideal life path would be working at home, and ordering all of my services and goods online, with mail-order service. Hell, if it were up to me, I wouldn't even go grocery shopping. I would buy food online too. Fuck people. They have no use for me, and I have no use for them. As long as I have a basic method of communication online, I could really live without meatspace interaction. Hell, I even met my actual meatspace wife online on an atheist think tank. She used to be a tongue speaking lunatic Pentecostal, but is also now an atheist. IMHO, if it can't be done or bought online, (except for beer), it's not worth my effort. Hell the only reason I leave the house is to go to work, and grocery shop, (also auto parts shop if I need something NOW). Other then that, I have no reason to go off line.

I don't even travel for vacations. I figure if I want to see somewhere, I always have Google Earth, and I don't have to deal with the idiots, or the crowds. TL,DR: Fuck real people, I prefer the Internet where the world is at my fingertips.-

"I don't like people IRL" (0)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380972)

Further down you mention a "meatspace wife". I really hope she's suing for divorce, poor woman. Though I suppose a self proclaimed sociopath is better than a Pentecostal.

Re:"I don't like people IRL" (0, Offtopic)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381208)

Though I suppose a self proclaimed sociopath is better than a Pentecostal.

I don't know, Scientologists aren't that much better.

Re:Internet at home (-1, Offtopic)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380974)

You are a hero for the modern age. God bless you, or, given your feverish atheism, perhaps I should say 'Dawkins bless you.'

Meanwhile, in the real world everybody else is enjoying themselves, free of nerd rage.

Re:Internet at home (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380994)

So you claim to have a wife, and yet the only meatspace activity you find worth the effort is beer? For all you say "fuck real people", it's pretty clear you haven't. Enjoy your mum's basement, ok?

Re:Internet at home (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381024)

Just because I haven't seen any matter travel faster than light doesn't mean that I don't believe that perhaps it could exist. As an atheist you take the arrogant stance that you know that goes doesn't exist and evidence be damned. Obviously you have no evidence for or against the existence of a creator but you've taken the extra step of proclaiming that you just know.
 
Admit you don't know everything in the whole universe, become agnostic. There's nothing wrong with a "I don't know". Because, let's face it, you don't.

Re:Internet at home (1, Funny)

Jesse_vd (821123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381192)

Somebody doesn't know what 'atheist' means.

I hope I get whoosh'd

Re:Internet at home (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381032)

What sort of back water undeveloped country are you living in? You have to go OUTSIDE to buy your groceries! I laugh at you neanderthal.

Re:Internet at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381146)

Obviously USA.

Re:Internet at home (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381204)

I look forward to your future trolls with interest, we need more amusing lunatics here.

Re:Internet at home (2)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381392)

I don't get it. Why is everybody so pissed off of him? If he doesn't like the world outside, he doesn't like it. Valid attitude. Not mine, but also not my problem. What do you want anyway? Force anyone to like you - by offending them? Great idea. .

North, east and west (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380926)

The summory sais 'West' but that's supposed to be 'East' - the former communist countries. Poverty and bad infrastructure are known problems there.. Lack of internet probably the least of their problems.

As for southern europe goes - yes, they have more internet cafe's. I assume the climate helps on that culture, same as for coffee etc.

Re:North, east and west (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381234)

Piracy has done wonders for the development of internet infrastructure in The East. Nice try though.

States? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380938)

States?

Re:States? (5, Informative)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380966)

Members of the EU are often referred to as Member States. Or Constituent Countries.

Re:States? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381124)

I know. It just sounds weird. They're not moving in the direction of becoming a "country" like the USA, or are they?

Re:States? (0, Troll)

GordonBX (1059078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381196)

Erm .. yes they are [bbc.co.uk] .

What planet have you been on for the past 6 months? ... probably the good ol' U S of ignorant-to-the-outside-world A.

Re:States? (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381330)

No, they're not. A couple of politcians would like them to, though.

Re:States? (2)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381400)

Oh there are certainly a ton of insane politicians who want it. Hell, many of our right-wing politicians *still* want Sweden to enter the Euro zone, even after all that's happened and even though a record 80% of the people is against it, including massive majorities in their own parties. Most likely they will get their way, it's not like the people of the constituent countries has any say, and if they do get the privilege to vote on their own future, they're bombarded with propaganda and forced to vote again and again until they vote the "right" way, funny how you never get to vote on leaving the damn thing once the decision has been made to enter though. But if it was up to the people of constituent countries, my bet is they'd much rather leave than turn over any remaining piece of self-determination to the EU.

Re:States? (4, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381336)

On paper the the U.S. and E.U. have very similar structures.

After the civil war in the U.S. the "in practice" changed to make us one nation instead of an alliance, but on paper we are still different countries. (Yes, that would mean two unrelated countries name Georgia). Pre-Civil war the term "These United States" was used instead of "The United States" for exactly that reason. Had Rick Perry actually moved on his idle threat to succeed it would have gotten some more people looking at the real structure of things and debating the "legality" of the situation, especially since Texas did join a little differently than the rest of the states, and yes it's relevant once the debates start.

Re:States? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381386)

"State" is another word for nation or country. These were called states before the EU existed.

states? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380940)

I did not know we had states in Europe...

Re:states? (4, Informative)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381022)

He probably meant nation-state. Or sovereign state. We often use 'state' to describe independent countries.

In fact, afaik using 'state' to refer to a sub-national political entity is unusual; most countries have 'provinces' or some other local terminology.

Either way, English is a funny language.

Re:states? (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381106)

States in the union used to be much more autonomous, and still are if you take the constitution at face value. It make sense they are called states given the historical and legal context, but in the real world, it is quite strange.

Re:states? (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381164)

the terminology reflects early US history with the articles of confederation, under which the states were the sovereign, this broke down because getting a bunch of independently acting sovereigns to move in the same direction is somewhat like herding kittens and unity was needed.

Re:states? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381296)

somewhat like herding kittens

With a large enough laser pointer, this isn't as hard to achieve as it sounds.

Re:states? (5, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381040)

I did not know we had states in Europe...

Yes. In English the word "state" refers to a sovereign political entity. The "United States of America" referred to each individual state as an individual and sovereign authority over their own land. However, as the USA has become more unitary rather than distinct, the term "state" in a political sense has experienced a form of semantic shift wherein people believe that it means a political subunit of a larger country.

In fact, the USA as a whole is a state, Germany is a state, the UN is a congregation of states. If you want more fun, The Kingdom of the Netherlands is considered to be composed of four "countries": The Netherlands, Aruba, Sint Maarten, and Curaçao. These collections of smaller politically sovereign entities into a larger politically sovereign entity causes a lot of confusion in this regard.

Re:states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381114)

The Netherlands, the UK, maybe not quite the UAE.

Re:states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381380)

Don't forget Saba. Home to the tallest mountain in the Dutch kingdom, Mt. Scenery!

No States (0, Redundant)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380946)

>Further, half of those in some of the southern and western states do not even have internet access at home.

The EU is not a federation, or any other sort of relation-ship, of states. All talk of states in this context is incorrect.

Re:No States (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380962)

A state is any politically-distinct entity, which can be as small as a single town, or as large as the whole EU. The word is much more versatile than the particular usage in the name "United States of America".

The State of the Union address states the state of the state of states.

Re:No States (0)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381006)

You appear to have made the word so versatile that it has become almost meaningless. It is worth noting that the term "state" did not appear in the original article.

I think you are simply incorrect that the a "state" is ANY politically distinct entity.

Re:No States (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381060)

I once saw a saw saw a saw...

Re:No States (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381142)

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Re:No States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381236)

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

Re:No States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381354)

FYI: Buffalo buffalo [wikipedia.org]

Re:No States (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381240)

You appear to have made the word so versatile that it has become almost meaningless. It is worth noting that the term "state" did not appear in the original article.

I think you are simply incorrect that the a "state" is ANY politically distinct entity.

And you are simply incorrect in thinking that the only use of the word "state" is as in the US States.

The phrase "EU member state" is a common one in Europe, and the fact you haven't heard of it is simply ignorance on your part.

Re:No States (1)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381298)

... "EU member state" was not the term employed!

So you are essentially changing the subject.

Had the summary referenced "member states" I doubt any of the people who have commented on the strange use of the word "state" in isolation, in this context, would have done so.

Interestingly enough, it is still the term "countries" that seems to be preferred.
http://europa.eu/about-eu/27-member-countries/index_en.htm ... although there is one reference to "member states" on the page.

If you can't defend the use of the word "state" in this context, unmodified by "member" or "sovereign", and uncapitalised, then you are effectively conceding the point.

Re:No States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380968)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_state

That word, I do not think it means what you think it does.

Re:No States (0)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381014)

... and I think that the fact your link is to the definition of "Sovereign State" rather than "State" rather suggests that you have missed the point!

"Sovereign State" was not the concept employed.

Re:No States (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381080)

"Sovereign State" was not the concept employed.

Okay, fine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State [wikipedia.org]

As another poster in this sub-thread pointed out, you're not just wrong, you're stupid wrong. I just knew as soon as I saw the summary that there'd be someone making a fool of himself by complaining about the use of the word "state" in this context, and congratulations, you didn't disappoint.

Re:No States (0)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381126)

> As another poster in this sub-thread pointed out, you're not just wrong, you're stupid wrong.

Something that you have not yourself been able to demonstrate. Citing an ad-hominem by an anonymous coward is surely a little beneath you... Or perhaps not.

>I just knew as soon as I saw the summary that there'd be someone making a fool of himself by complaining about the use of the word "state" in this context, and congratulations, you didn't disappoint.

Excellent! Always nice to feel one has brought a little joy into the world! The fact that you too were struck by the inappropriateness of the word "state" in this contact is revealing.

Re:No States (0)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381136)

oops - finger trouble...

"in this contact is revealing" should have been "in this context is revealing"

Re:No States (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381314)

You just keep on digging that hole you're in, kiddo.

Re:No States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380978)

You interpret the term "state" in a very limited way (probably American).

The actual meaning of state is much wider, and totally applicable to the European countries.

For reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_%28polity%29

Re:No States (2)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381048)

The term is not employed in the article linked to - only the submission. The common use of the term "states" in reference to the EU, without a modifier such as "Sovereign" or "Member" is in arguments about the precise political relationship of the 27 members to each other. To refer to them as "states" is to take a position in that political discussion.

Re:No States (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381070)

Declarative statements about the intent of the summary's author are necessarily outrageous fabrications when made by anyone but the original author.

Do you not understand that people often use the short form of technical and multi-word terms when speaking, and when writing, out of a simple desire for convenience and succinctness?

How can you state so assertively that the author of the summary did _not_ mean to use the term 'state' simply to mean sovereign- or member- state? And if that was his intent, how can you claim that the author took a position in 'that' political discussion?

Re:No States (2)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381102)

>Declarative statements about the intent of the summary's author are necessarily outrageous fabrications when made by anyone but the original author.

Nonsense! We can state categorically, for example, that the summary did not intend to refer to green cheese.

Re:No States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381128)

Declarative statements about the intent of the summary's author are necessarily outrageous fabrications when made by anyone but the original author.

Nonsense! We can state categorically, for example, that the summary did not intend to refer to green cheese.

Are you sure about that?

Could not some word or words in the summary be a reference to an obscure in-joke or meme?

You can only be more sure that the author didn't refer in some way to 'green cheese', because it would be so unlikely.

The word 'state' is used so often to refer to a sovereign state, though, that that meaning is very likely.

And so again we return to the basic crime: your accusation that the summary was 'incorrect'. When will you apologize for your slander?

Re:No States (2)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381266)

The term is not employed in the article linked to - only the submission. The common use of the term "states" in reference to the EU, without a modifier such as "Sovereign" or "Member" is in arguments about the precise political relationship of the 27 members to each other. To refer to them as "states" is to take a position in that political discussion.

Please, just give up, you are making yourself look more and more ignorant. You are fixated on the US usage of the word "State" and think this implies that an EU country must be part of a greater "United States of Europe". It simply does not mean that in this context

Re:No States (1)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381366)

> It simply does not mean that in this context

Well, to help us establish what it DOES mean in this context, perhaps you could cite usage of the word "state", with reference to a country in the EU, uncapitalised and unmodified by the words "member", "sovereign" or "the", in EU documentation. Or anywhere else.

No, it isn't (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380998)

The EU is, exactly, a relationship of States, bound together by treaties and with two political structures to maintain the relationship. The difference between the US and the EU is the powers delegated to the States, but the US also has two structures (the Federal Government and the representative government). In English English - i.e. the sort that still, for now, is used in the EU, we refer to the "British State" because "country" is inappropriate - the British State comprises four countries. In EU documents the word "states" is used.

Not all the world is the USA, and you do not have a monopoly on enforcing the meaning of words.

Re:No, it isn't (1)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381068)

Actually, I am a Brit - and it is the standard English English use of the term I am defending.

Note that you capitalised "States". You thus use it in a different sense to that to which I am objecting.

Which is this:

> Further, half of those in some of the southern and western states

note the lower case...

I suggest that in standard English English that is at best poorly expressed and confusing and at worst simply incorrect.

Re:No, it isn't (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381292)

The fact that you are not American makes your ignorance even less excusable.

Using the term "member state" does not mean that country is part of some United States of Europe in the same way that the State of California is part of the United States of America.

Your euro-phobia is leading you to defend an untenable position, as you are simply wrong.

Re:No, it isn't (1)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381320)

> Using the term "member state" does not mean that country is part of some United States of Europe in the same way that the State of California is part of the United States of America.

Very true! Nor have I ever suggested that it does. "Member state" is pretty innocuous I think.

But then "member state" was not the term I was objecting to. It no-where appears in the summary.

> Your euro-phobia is leading you to defend an untenable position, as you are simply wrong.

mmm - will leaving aside your sloppy mindedness in thinking you can derive a political position from anything I have in this thread - isn't this something you should take the trouble to demonstrate?

Re:No, it isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381300)

In American English, the general term state refers to a nation-state. The term State refers to a State of the United States.

So the phrase, the state of Texas, refers to the independent nation of Texas that existed after the Texas revolution and before Texas joined the United States. While the phrase, the State of Texas, would refer to Texas as a member of the United States.

Likewise, Americans would not write about the British State but rather the British state. An exception would be when the word state is used in a name, such as the State Department, the department that interacts with other states.

Re:No, it isn't (1)

Anoraknid the Sartor (9334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381244)

> The difference between the US and the EU is the powers delegated to the States

Well - yes - as far as it goes - but obviously there are all sorts of powers held by countries in the EU that are NOT delegated to them by the EU.

Re:No States (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381064)

You're demonstrating dangerous levels of arrognorance -- the ignorance to form conclusions that are not just wrong, but stupid wrong, combined with the arrogance to dictate to others that your conclusion is correct and they are wrong.

For your ignorance, see Merriam-Webster [merriam-webster.com] :

5 a : a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially : one that is sovereign

(Sorry, there's no link for humility; good luck with that problem.)

The internet is an important right (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380948)

Everyone should have access to the internet. Those at the poorest end of society need it the most because all the best utility deals are online, as is a lot of government information.

Re:The internet is an important right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38380956)

The internet is a tool in the same way as a TV is a tool...

It's not essential. Most people can get by without the TV. Most people don't NEED internet access at home either...

Re:The internet is an important right (4, Interesting)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381050)

Sorry, fail. In a modern society it can be challenging to get by without internet access. Take Finland for example, where internet access is a right for all citizens. Practically all services are handled electronically here. Banking has been done online for a couple decades (perhaps more, I wasn't living here before that). We do not use paper checks (how archaic), and the banks have had electronic kiosks for paying bills and performing basic banking tasks as far back as I can remember. I pay all store purchases with a bank card (debit), credit card or very occasionally, cash from an ATM. Today, the vast majority in Finland do their banking online. The last time I was in a bank physically, was when taking out a mortgage many years ago. I do 100% of my financial transactions at home, or any place I can have access via internet. All my bills are paid electronically online.

To the naysayers that will inevitably say they don't trust online transactions, I call bullshit. I cannot begin to count the number of transactions in let's say the last 10 years (must be in the many thousands), and not ONCE have I had an issue. It can be done if your financial institutions take security seriously.

Perhaps in some less well developed countries it may be possible to live offline, but I would say that if you tried to live offline here you will have a much more difficult time as practically all services are online. You may be able to live without TV, but living without internet access would be very challenging here.

A lot of EU countries are less developed (4, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381210)

The EU has a wide spread of countries, and development levels. Rural Romania has a different level of wealth and technology infrastructure than urban Finland, for example.

You make a good point about trust as an issue why some people might not take up internet use. My 77 year old father here in the UK does not go shopping online. I think part of this is lack of trust with the novel (to him) environment. Also, he doesn't need to go online. All his local services are within a few kilometres and he likes doing business in person. He is retired, so he can go to the bank and shops during quiet times of the day. Some people don't need the internet, or if they have access to it, choose not to use it.

For some people in Europe it is technical infrastructure. Check out a map of Europe and you will find that there are large areas where there is low speed or little access to the internet - modem speed access or maybe no access to fixed line telephones or mobile coverage. In Scotland, there is better coverage for 3G phones in the seas around the country than on the surface area of the land (internet is usually ok up to 2Mbs via land line in this country).

For quite a number of people in Europe, they cannot afford the cost of an internet connection. Check out prices in some of the lower developed European countries compared to state pension levels for example. For the young, employed, urban Europeans in highly developed countries internet costs are low compared to income, but for many others this is not the case.

Re:The internet is an important right (2)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381304)

Your argument is circular though. Obviously, if everything is done online, then being offline will be a hardship or extreme inconvenience.

But if your country is largely offline, things like shopping and banking will be done by traditional means instead, and not being online won't really matter except in marginal convenience.

If, for instance, you made voting online only, then clearly you would have to guarantee internet access for everybody,

Re:The internet is an important right (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381398)

How clients do banking is irrelevant, in so I agree that the completely electronic way is more practical.
But, fractional reserve, international loans between banks, money being issued by central banks and bailouts are turning money into numbers on a bank's server, under control of the bank. That means that in the long run private wealth will succumb, because you cannot compete with guys that can throw more money at everything and whose mission is to have people ask them loans.

Capitalism is dead, free market is dead, we are gonna get the same freedom of communism with the same social guarantees as capitalism. FML

Look at the statistics, they are interesting (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381008)

The UK is one of the most advanced states in terms of using the Internet for commerce, and one of the most backward in using it to inform citizens and allow things like document filing on line. Even former Soviet countries do better than the UK, and Malta (where most people are within walking distance of the nearest Government representative) is better at supplying official information on line than we are.

So, interestingly, your argument (which I completely agree with) seems to have been taken on board by the poorer EU States.

ex-communist != ex-Soviet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381054)

Most ex-communist countries weren't a part of the Soviet Union. IIRC only the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) were parts of the USSR. The rest were (nominally) sovereign countries aligned with the USSR (or not even that - see Yugoslavia, a communist country that had strained relations with the Soviet Union).

Re:Look at the statistics, they are interesting (1)

joss (1346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381122)

Nah, not true. UK is behind in some ways and ahead of the game in others (releasing government data in rdf format suitable for SPARQL queries for instance). Its a bit slow in online document filing but a leader in many areas of releasing public data.

Re:The internet is an important right (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381044)

Maybe, and I'm just guessing here, they just didn't WANT to access the net. And they almost certainly didn't want to be REQUIRED to access the net to get some services, for example. Personally speaking, we're only the FIRST generation to grow up with the Internet. There's one generation below us now that are the second. Everyone else has either had to learn very quickly or accept that they are past the stage where learning computers is easy for them (30 years ago, it was the exclusive domain of the nerd - and not everyone's a nerd).

Maybe, just maybe, they don't give a shit about the Internet especially when it's being shoved down their throats in preference to a) talking to human beings at good companies, b) doing your own homework instead of relying on an "independent" price comparison site and c) spending hundreds of pounds on something they'll never learn to use.

The best utility deals should not be only online, for a start. The cost of online vs paper statement is literally pence, no matter what the industry. And I won't use any internet-only business myself because it means I *can't* ring them up or send them a letter and get my problem sorted (my personal success rate of problem resolution by phone is about 90%, in person about 99%, by email about 10%). And if an older person phones up a utility company, they should still be given a fecking good deal whether or not they signed up online or not. In my country, the law is clamping down on things like that for precisely those reasons - the people most likely to not be able to take advantage of Internet deals are *EXACTLY* the kind of people who should be getting those rates.

Those at the poorest end of society are the ones worrying over 50p in the electricity meter, not which £1000 laptop they'll buy or whether their £20/month internet connection can save them £1.99 on statement delivery from their bank. But it's not about those people, it's about people who don't WANT to use the Internet for everything.

Personally, I *do* have Internet access to absolutely everything I need, and even did all but one present of my Christmas shopping online this year, but there are some things where I *refuse* to have a good service that serves a purpose replaced with a faceless corporate website.

My bank still want me to change to completely paperless (no thanks, I like to keep paper evidence and it'll cost me the same to print out my statements as it will them to print and post them to me - even though I check them online all the time), and don't want me to talk to humans in a branch (because they give me what I want/need most of the time). My car insurers need to have a phone line anyway so I can report accidents. My girlfriend will be getting a present bought *IN PERSON* because you can't buy jewellery over the Internet and know what you're getting (I would argue the same for clothing). In work, we still fax official orders because it has more legal weight. I used to fill my tax return in on the official forms and only ever submitted online once (for the final return I had to send when I stopped being self-employed, and even that I did on paper first to check their calculations).

Not everything works over the Internet, most importantly when things go wrong. When things go wrong, the website of the company in question is absolutely 100% useless, even if they are an ISP or hosting company (in some cases, even more so if you can't get online!). Give me the phone number of some middle-manager, though, and I'll have the problem sorted in minutes. The Internet is nothing more than a convenient shield from your customers and some customers won't accept that.

And some people, because of the way they work, just don't want to use / trust the Internet. In time, they will be obsoleted and everyone will start to use it from a young age, but until that time you have to accept that giving people *access* to the Internet is wonderful but you can't FORCE them to use it for everything. And, in fact, you'll learn that as you deal with more and more companies, it's the ones that provide a personal, human service that give you the most return on your custom, not the faceless corporate entities that hid behind a contact form and a privacy policy.

Re:The internet is an important right (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381130)

what country still gives faxed documents more weight than other transmitted signatures? The US has explicitly recognized electronic signatures for years, the US is usually way the hell behind and we still use mostly mag swipe (credit) or swipe and pin (debit), nobody offers or accepts chip and pin, and we are just starting to see contactless air swipe (no pin) transactions

Re:The internet is an important right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381312)

...the people most likely to not be able to take advantage of Internet deals are *EXACTLY* the kind of people who should be getting those rates.

You seem to believe that the people who should be getting cheaper rates are those who can't afford as much. This is incorrect. The people who should be getting cheaper rates are those who don't demand as much: who don't require hand-packaged mailed statements, or expensive face-time from a representative of the company.

Re:The internet is an important right (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381350)

You have picked up the exact opposite of my meaning. The people who should be getting *THE SAME* rates as everyone else are those that can't afford to have huge bills or expensive computers or Internet connections in order to manage their electricity (they may even have pre-pay meters, for example).

And what about blind users? Braille statements cost a fortune. What about deaf phone users? Textphone services cost a fortune too. What about users who can only communicate by letter or via a third party?

The people who COST the most to support are precisely those who should be getting the same rates and not penalised for not using the Internet. It doesn't happen but there's no reason to discriminate and either remove facilities for them or make them pay more just because they can't use the Internet. In some countries that's even considered illegal because of Disability Discrimination.

The elderly, the infirm, those with mental illness, those requiring carers, those with disabilities of one type or another are precisely the people who can't / won't use the Internet, require specialist investment by large utility companies AND should be getting the same rates as us or (in some cases) cheaper.

Those on genuine benefits because of low income CANNOT afford a computer and Internet connection unless it's subsidised by the government, and that's rare, and that means they CAN'T take advantage of "Internet-only" rates. Which is why they need the same rates as everyone else offered to them by phone or by post.

The people who demand more aren't just the strong-willed. There's a cost to dealing with people who are outside the norm and those who are outside the norm often struggle with everyday utilities.

It would be nice to see more data about age (4, Insightful)

Hast (24833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380986)

The article (and report) conclude that "24 percent of 16-74 year olds across the 27 countries in the European Union have never accessed the Internet". Meanwhile in the parts of the EU with the highest Internet use (such as in the Scandinavian countries) the rate of Internet access (ie people who actively use the Internet, not people who've used it only once) is in the 90%.

I would assume part of the reason for the statistic is that 16-74 is a pretty big age span. Particularly when it comes to new technology. It wouldn't surprise me if the "never used internet" population is almost entirely in the 50+ age bracket. Unfortunately the article, and report, doesn't give that information.

I'd bet that is a lot of it too (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381182)

I've met more than a few elderly people with, well not an Internet aversion but I guess just Internet ambivalence. They didn't have it growing up, they can't see why they need it now and don't wish to learn something new.

Also they are part of the case of dialup stats. You find an amazing number of people still on dialup. Geeks tend to say "Oh that's because broadband distribution sucks, so many people can't get it!" While it is true that broadband penetration isn't 100%, turns out that where most people live it is available. Most people live in more concentrated areas (hence why they are concentrated) and broadband is there.

Looking in to it you find there are people who just don't care. My grandma was one of those. Had a modem until like 2007. The only reason she got broadband was my uncle got fed up with not having broadband when he visited and just ordered it for her. She liked it once she had it, but couldn't be talked in to ordering it herself.

I'm looking at you, Greece. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38380992)

"Lowest standard of living in Europe."

Not west, EAST! (3, Informative)

Beriaru (954082) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381010)

As a Spaniard (South and West of EU) I have to say the summary is wrong. The fine article says the South and EAST!
Anyway, Spain is a country with large rural areas, but the broadband is nearly ubiquitous.

Flash is destroying the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381012)

You now need a super Computer to see a web site. What a fscking waste.

I think poor people do need the internet and dial up would meet most of their needs. Dial up could be much faster than 56k with new techno. I think we could easily do 1mbs over dial up without distance restrictions from exchange. But hey we want eye candy so that is the way we are going.

TV was supposed to be a tool for education when invented. Now it is basically shit and not much else. Even the science shows are dumbed down. AYE.

Internet needs a computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381062)

Since my country is mentioned in the article, I'd like to make some things clear, which weirdly are not included. First of all, half of the population doesn't have internet access because they have much more urgent needs such as food, shelter and basic utilities. Second of all, to use the internet you need some sort of computer, the cheapest of which costs more than the average salary in the country. Furthermore, I find it insanely arrogant to claim that poor people need internet to shop. Poor people buy second hand stuff for 1-2 Euro, not 10% discounted designer jeans. Even the most accurate statistic is useless unless compared against reality.

Re:Internet needs a computer (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381148)

Laptops are getting cheaper all the time, but you don't even need a laptop to access the internet nowadays. Cheap smart phones that are more than capable of accessing the internet are getting more ubiquitous and cheaper every day. Even in some rich countries where everyone could probably afford a laptop, a large number of people access the internet exclusively from their phone. It may be cheaper, easier, and more useful for countries to provide their poorest citizens with smartphones instead of laptops

Re:Internet needs a computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381242)

People who cannot afford basic means of survival have absolutely no use for internet or smartphones. Check Maslow's pyramid. It's funny how most people here can't even grasp the concept of poverty.

Re:Internet needs a computer (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381332)

Um, yeah, my guess is that you have no understanding of poverty, at least poverty in the first world. Being able to search for housing, search for jobs, search for other necessities of life etc. is of utmost importance to poor people. And as all of that information is going online, people who cannot access the information often end up having to pay more for those same services because middle men will insert themselves between the poor and the providers of those services.

web!=internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381078)

So, which is it?

Wikipedia (5, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381090)

I'm always amazed when I see the number of articles on Wikipedia in different languages. The German Wikipedia for example has about 1.3 million articles, while the number of German-speaking people is about 100 million. There are *a lot* more people speaking Spanish around the world (Mexico alone has more than 100 million citizens), yet there are only about 850.000 articles in Spanish on Wikipedia.

I think the number of articles says a lot about internet penetration in European countries, because most of them have their own language. The Dutch Wikipedia for example has almost a million articles, while only about 30 million or so people actually speak the language. You see the same sort of ratio between articles to speakers in other nordic and western European countries. This ratio drops sharply as you move towards the east and south of Europe. People seem to be a lot less interested to add content to the internet in those countries. You could argue a poor country has other more important preoccupations, but people in countries such as Spain or Italy aren't all that poor, yet they don't seem to be adding a lot of articles to Wikipedia either.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381152)

Don't jump to conclusions too early.

Maybe people in those countries are so well educated in foregin languages (like english) that foreign wikipedias make up for them the lack of native articles.

Re:Wikipedia (5, Insightful)

fuzzfuzz (881119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381160)

Or they use the English Wikipedia - I'm from Denmark and I don't know anyone using the danish Wikipedia. Why use it if the same info is already available in another language you understand?

Re:Wikipedia (3, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381268)

Even so, Denmark has only about 6 million citizens, yet they've written almost 160.000 articles in Danish on Wikipedia. That's a *way* better ratio than most southern/eastern European countries. The Romanian Wikipedia for example only includes 10.000 more articles than the Danish one, yet their population is more than three times as large as Denmark. And even a relatively wealthy and modern country like Italy has a ratio which is far worse (almost 900.000 articles with a population of 60 million.)

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381288)

As a Spanish regular user of the English Wikipedia I can attest to that. But there is one more reason to explain the (comparative, per capita) lack in articles in the Spanish Wikipedia: its editors are, most probably, the strictest and nit pickiest of all Wikipedia versions. Due to that, many contributors fall disinterested after 2 or 3 article deletions, and after that they just don't even try anymore. I tried, and I stopped after seeing the utter disregard to the contributors opinions in the discussion pages.

In the bright side, you could say the average quality of a Spanish Wikipedia article is pretty high, if it exists in the first place.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381340)

I use the finnish version for finnish stuff quite a lot.

because the english version doesn't have as much. usually it means that the english version lacks all the dirt, actually. especially about politicians.

Re:Wikipedia (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381356)

The Danish wikipedia will accept Danish sources, the English one generally won't. That at least seems to me to be the primary reason why the Norwegian wikipedia is sometimes better for things in, from or about Norway. But yes, for generic information I too use the English one.

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38381162)

Well you could just compare the education level of the average Dutch or German speaker to the education level of the average Spanish speaker...

Give them time (3, Insightful)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381140)

Just like with all things, time and a compelling reason is needed to adopt new practices. My mother disliked it when computers were introduced in her job and after retirement was not interested in using the home PC for leisure purposes. When the nest became empty, Skype became a necessity. Last time I visited, she was looking at the camera and saying "hmmm, this photo is too dark but I'll adjust the brightness when I get home"...once at home she was complaining the computer was "too damn slow!" to get anything done...

Been on the Internet since mid 80-ies (2)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381190)

I've been on the Internet since mid 80-ies. With the authority of experience -for what it's really worth- I can classify these 25% as the happy few.

There still are ample media available for you to live an informed life without using the Internet.

Personally I find the Internet an invaluable source of CS related information and a nifty tool to obtain good deals on purchases. I actually speak face to face with people I care about. Anything skin deep I ignore completely.

I'm most likely not interested in your life story. The best times I have with actual people. CS is merely a hobby that happens to earn me a living. It took me a few mental leaps in the early stages to realise that graphical representations of bytes will never govern my life.

Poverty is increasing ... (2)

yvesdandoy (44789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381278)

when you have to non-choose between surfing the Web (for whatever reason) and feeding your kids (or yourself) or paying the rent or going to the doctor ... the action is straightforward: you suppress what is not first necessity and accessing the Web in this circumstancies is NOT first necessity.

Easy (0)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38381280)

If we're talking about EU member states, the solution is easy: Make it a requirement - in order to remain a member - to get the Internet out to everyone. Doesn't matter if it's a question of cabling, access costs or people too stupid to use it or get it - just get it fixed, whatever it takes. If they don't just kick them out.

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