A quarter of Europeans have never used the internet

Posted by Kate Taylor

More than 100 million adults on the EU have never surfed the web, new European Union statistics show.

However, internet access is expanding. Almost three quarters of households had a connection in the first quarter of 2011, compared with just under half in the first quarter of 2006.

And the share of households with broadband internet connections more than doubled between 2006 and 2011, hitting 68 percent in 2011, up from just 30 percent in 2006.

There are, as you might expect, big differences between individual countries. Generally speaking, there's a gap between the richer norther countries and the poorer nations in the south and east of the region. While 94 percent of Dutch households have internet access, for example, the figure's just 45 percent in Romania.

As for broadband, Sweden topped the list, appearing in 86 percent of households. Denmark followed with 84 percent, while 83 percent of households in the Netherlands and the UK had a connection.

E-commerce is most common in the UK, Denmark and Germany. This year, 82 percent of Brits ordered products or services over the internet. Of particular interest to the EU, almost half of users across the region used the internet to get information from public authority websites, and 28 percent to submit completed official forms.

The EU now has a tough job ahead of it. It's set itself the target of getting the number of people who have never used the internet down to just 15 percent by 2015.