Only 3pc of Irish households and 32pc of enterprises had broadband in the first quarter of last year, according to the latest EuroStat report on internet usage in 25 European countries. However, Ireland scored highly in term of the proportion of enterprises using the internet to conduct business with some 92pc of enterprises using the net to conduct business.
The EuroStat figures refer to usage in the first quarter of 2004 and usage refers to those who reported using the internet at least once during the reference period.
“As usual Ireland was poor for broadband penetration,” said IrelandOffline spokesman Damien Mulley, although he acknowledged that the statistics reflected a situation of more than a year ago.
“However, it did contain good news”, Mulley said. “For online buying, companies in Ireland are above the EU average. For e-government, the use of online government services by Irish enterprises is way above the EU average and near the best in the EU. Though for individuals we are below the EU average.”
Europe wide, about half of the population of individuals aged between 16 and 74 used the internet and more men (51pc) than women (43pc) used the internet.
The highest levels of usage by individuals were recorded in Sweden (82pc), Denmark (76pc) and Finland (70pc).
The lowest levels of usage by individuals took place in Greece (20pc), Hungary (28pc), Lithuania, Poland and Portugal all 29pc.
The highest levels of usage by enterprises can be found in Denmark and Finland (both 97pc), and in Belgium and Sweden (both 96pc). The lowest levels were registered in Portugal (77pc), Hungary (78pc), Lithuania (81pc) and Cyprus (82pc).
Ireland scored above the European average at 92pc in terms of enterprises using the internet. Broken down between large enterprises and SMEs using the internet, some 100pc of large enterprises used the internet compared with 91pc of SMEs.
The highest levels of broadband connection for enterprises were recorded in Denmark (80pc), Sweden (75pc) and Spain (72pc).
Ireland came in at 32pc in terms of enterprises with broadband. Broken down, some 79pc of large enterprises in Ireland had broadband, compared with 29pc of SMEs. Overall, some 38pc of Irish enterprises were still using ISDN in the first quarter of 2004.
In terms of the proportion of enterprises purchasing and selling via the internet, Ireland was above the European average, with 48pc of all enterprises purchasing online and 28pc of all enterprises selling online.
Ireland presented a mixed picture in terms of e-government and citizens’ interaction with public authorities in 2004. Only 11pc of citizens interacted with public authorities over the internet in order to obtain information, below the European average of 22pc.
However, the EuroStat survey showed that businesses demonstrated a better adoption of e-government with 60pc using the web to obtain information – above the European average of 45pc – and 54pc and 32pc respectively for obtaining and sending filled in forms over the net.
By John Kennedy