back to article Almost a quarter of Europeans can't be bothered with the net

The European Commission is renewing its effort to get every European hooked up to the net - whether they want to or not. The Commission's latest study into Europeans' digital world showed that 43 per cent of EU households "still do not have internet access". This, the Commission believes, is simply not good enough. It notes …

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Anonymous Coward

If they want to improve it...

"The Commission's latest study into Europeans' digital world showed that 43 per cent of EU households "still do have internet access". This, the Commission believes, is simply not good enough"

Let BT take over the infrastructure in Europe. if they manage it the same way that the have in the UK, that percentage will soon rise rapidly.

Oh, I see what they mean....sorry.

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WTF?

This raises important questions...

Like which weirdo doesn't have a phone, internet or tv?

One of those nutter families that reads books?

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Anonymous Coward

To those who downvoted Tigra 07

Please find a dictionary and look up "irony".

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Anonymous Coward

Pffft....

The idiot lantern went years ago. The stuff on it was mostly balls anyway and the kids (preschoolies, mind) don't miss it one bit. Nor do they seem interested in it at their friends' houses either. Mobiles replaced the landline, so that only leaves the Internet. Have tried iPlayer a few times but there never seems to be much interesting on there apart from Newsnight occasionally.

Books are pretty good though and they're free at the library. You ought to give em a try :-)

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Troll

Ok

So you connect to the internet, went out of your way to come to a tech site to berate the internet and tech in general?

Think you need to spend more time at this...what was it again? Library, thingy.

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Can it be any cheaper?

I'm not usually one to suggest that things ought to cost more, but aren't we constantly being told (in the UK at least) that there isn't enough money to give people the broadband they have already been sold? If this is the case then how in the hell can they make it any cheaper?

If the inability to upgrade infrastructure isn't just a symptom of high shareholder payouts and management bonuses then, surely, (again I speak of the UK) broadband prices should increase a little until the infrastructure can accommodate more customers, then the prices should drop?

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FAIL

Hello Macedonia...

Don't have reliable water, gas or electricity..? Don't have security, infrastructure or enough food?

Here, have the internet anyway.

Oh, you wanted freedom to choose? No, you can't have that if you want to join the EU proper.

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My parents recently ditched their Internet access

I moved out recently and took the PC with me.

They have no further need for the internet connection and they terminated it with the ISP. They are not interested in owning a computer or having an internet hookup.

They are retired, enjoy going on day trips, gardening etc. If it turns out that they absolute MUST access the web for some reason, they can come to mine or the library.

TBH, they are more upset about loosing the old Teletext system, they dislike the digital version!

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Statistics please

Like, what percentage of the European population is over the age of 70? Most people of that age are not interested. There are some who are, but most not. Pretty sure my 90 year old next door neighbour wouldn't know how to turn a computer on, never mind how to log in to Faceshite.

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FAIL

I love paradoxes...

It is bloody expensive because not enough people have it.

Lots of people would happily own it, but won't, because it is bloody expensive. Some other lots wouldn´t own it, even if it was not...

Where are the early adopters, thus making it cheaper for everyone else, when we need them?

Oh wait...

Why don't they make it cheaper from the get go, and (*whack*---*thud*)

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Not much worthwhile stuff for a lot of people

Unless your english is good, there really isn't a whole lot of (legal, non-errr, "visual") stuff out there for a significant proportion of the european population. Sure, there's content in french, spanish, german and italian - but how about if your only language is greek - say, or czech or norwegian? Would you really want to pay the high price of internet access that is common in other european countries (€30-40/month - give or take, on top of a landline rental) just to access the content put out by the 10 or 20 million people who speak your native tongue - most of whom won't be on the internet for exactly the reasons you aren't?

Until you've had to deal with the likes of Telefonica OTE to get a basic phone line installed outside of a large town (hint: it's easier to move house to one with a phone) you don't really understand the barriers to getting access, compared to the small benefits and high costs of having it.

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@Pete2

I don't know why you were downvoted, perhaps the people who did it didn't think things through.

I was going to suggest that Johnny Foreigner seems jolly well good at English in the main, so it shouldn't matter to them if the internet is in English -- heck I communicate with lots of people from around the world and most of them put us native English speakers to shame.

Then I remembered something -- I only know people who use the internet and mostly know people who work for large international companies. When I thought about it more I recalled that I have, on my travels, come across people who don't speak English at all, or can only just understand it. Then I recalled that I've only really been to major cities and that there are people in, for example, rural Poland who farm using horses and may not even have electricity.

So, when I think about it, I agree with you -- English is the lingua franca of the internet and those who don't read it would find the internet a very small place.

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Coat

easily sorted ...

just encourage more free porn, sports, movies and music downloads and make it easier.

Now - how hard was that?

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Go

Macedonia, Elbonia, Cornwall...

How can ve monitor unt control zem if ze are not part of ze intarnets?

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Big Brother

In the interests of freedom, transparency and democracy

You will do what we tell you is good for you. And you WILL be on the internet.

Good old EU.

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FAIL

Freedom of choice...

... why can't they just leave people alone?

If they don't want to use the internet at home, so what?

It'll soon be a moot point anyway, as the internet marches toward TV sets at an ever faster pace - give it 10 to 20 years and everyone will have internet on their TV sets ...

OR ...

95% of the world will be dead and the survivors will be riding around in scrap metal trucks across radioactive 'bad lands' wearing leather and being lawless.

Hmmm...

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freedom of choice...nooooo

They just need to do what the Australian government is doing with the 43b fibre rollout, pull out all the copper wiring, pass laws to allow NBN contractors to enter private property without permission and wire everybody up whether they like it or not, then charge them for the privilege. Yes its good live in one of the worlds great democracies!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/customers-may-be-forced-on-to-nbn-to-keep-phones/story-fn59niix-1225937394605

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'cos

...if everyone is online then they can have a better look at what everyone is up to.

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@ 'cos

Ahhh, but you can lead a citizen to the internet, but you can't make them buy a PC. What's the point of connecting every house in the EU if a lot of the most cut-off / difficult-to-reach ones don't have a 'pooter to use on it?

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Troll

Well said

"...just because they don't see the point of Twitter and are content to just have real world friends."

I've been using the internet pretty much daily since the late 1980's, and have somehow maintained relationships with friends and family, including ones who don't have an ISP much less a social-networking account. And what, BTW, "IS THE POINT of Twitter"????

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Happy

Ah, now...

Twitter exists solely for the purpose of cretinous self-publicists to tell the planet's other cretinous self-publicists, every tiny minutae that occurs during their day!

The only people who read "twitterings" appear to be other "twitterers".

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Sir

"BTW, "IS THE POINT of Twitter"

I don't know, and since I currently maintain a 100% record of never having even visited the site I don't plan to try and find out either.

Let me know when^H^H^H^H if you find something :)

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Boffin

The French thingy

Probably a part of those not bothered by the Internet have access to that French thingy that involved a mini text terminal, can't remember the name of that system though.

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Minitel

'Minitel' is the word you are looking for. It's basically not used anymore in France, as far as I can tell. The service still exists, but people don't use it much, if at all. At least, that's the way it is in Lille, where I live.

Broadband is very good in France, by the way. It's not expensive and there is NO capping. None. Simple to use: just plug in the Livebox and you're away. I live in an urban area, though, and I understand that it's different in rural areas, particularly the more remote ones, but that's what you would expect.

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Anonymous Coward

French thingies

Minitel. Still around, but these days there's not much on it but the weather forecast and pr0n. Pity, Seafrance used to have a hangman-style quiz where you could win ferry tickets every week, it was so easy that I went years without paying anything like full price for the crossing :)

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Eventually...

I know lods of old folks who love the net, but also plenty who don't care TV penetration stalled for a while because folk who were happy with Radio could not be bothered to invest There will be a hiatus, then the net will match TV, but the last few percent will be sloooow to come.

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Terminator

Only one way to make all EU citizens comply...

You will be upgraded. Hostile or incompatible elements will be deleted.

Delete, delete, delete!

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Anonymous Coward

encouragement needed

I know quite a few older folk who have been gently encouraged to go online. Examples include my parents and father in law, and some neighbours. One of the things most likely to put them off is that computing shops are not interested in selling them inherently secure and easy to use systems. Over the last few years I've seen a few of these older folk get on much better using Linux than systems that constantly need antivirus subscription updates and which need reinstallation every year or 2. But this does require some support from a close relative or friend, given that the PC shops seem more interested in collecting taxes on behalf of Microsoft than supporting older folk properly. It really is very difficult for someone over 85 to have to spend hours on a telephone line to a call centre half way across the planet employing someone who talks too fast to instruct them in having to reinstall an OS.

Yes there are some who will never go online, but most of these seem likely to die in the next 20 years or so. Having better communications will encourage them to take more interest in life beyond their 4 walls and live longer, so I would like to see close relatives and friends taking more of an interest, and computer shops getting out of Microsoft's pockets.

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Go

re: encouragement needed

The problem with this is as you pointed out, the places people go for help (eg computer shops) are microsoft oriented and will push microsoft products even tho they are an extremely poor choices..

Sure, there are apple shops around but they are relatively rare and for someone with basic requirements higher end equipment is unnecessary and apple don't make ultra low end stuff.

I set my grandparents up with a DSL line, using a cisco 1801 router (having had cheap routers lock up in the past) and a linux box. They browse the web, talk to relative on instant messaging networks or email, and store/print their photos.

Their needs are few, but also relatively typical of the average person.

They very rarely have any problems, the most recent one was because the monitor they have supports dual inputs (vga/dvi) and has a switch to choose between them, someone had pressed the switch accidentally and set it to the wrong input.

They are quite happy to get on with what they're doing without needing to worry about viruses or malware, and they know not to give out any personal details via email or im. The system (ubuntu) updates itself in the background and every now and again i do a major distribution-upgrade for them.

Considering the minimal level of support i need to give completely non technical people with linux, it's not really surprising the computer shops favour microsoft... You make a lot more money if the customers keep coming back to have stuff fixed, especially when you can blame microsoft and point to thousands of other people in the same boat - ie its not *your* fault.

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Surely cost matters

As a retired programmer here in Spain I pay the exorbitant cost because I am so used to Internet access that I miss it if I do not have it. But 44 Euro pm for standard 6 Mb/s or 44 for 10Mb/s plus VAT is rather costly compared with the UK. At the higher speed you do get national calls included. Of course there is a 23 Euro line rental pm plus tax as well. :-)

Compared to my Sister in the UK who gets all calls under 1 hour included for about £9 pm including line rental and a 10 MB/s service, cost must influence a lot of people at least here in Spain.

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Pint

Has to be something worthwhile

I can only be of benefit when there is something worthwhile.

My father, now in his seventies, was never particularly interested in the internet until he retired and took up fish keeping. He bought himself a Mac ( believe me it was safer than running an out of ours support centre from my house everytime he tampered in the WIndows/LInux control panels! ) and he finds the internet incredibly useful for sourcing out information on fish keeping and finding great deals on the DIY kit he has to buy to maintain the ponds he has.

He has zero interest in anything else that occurs out there on the internet, he "puts up" with email in order to get the information he needs and accept the receipts for orders.

Most of his mates, roughly the same age as him, are much the same. Not in the least bit interested in Web 2.0 this, Faceslap, Twatter, online video or any other stuff, the internet is just another tool to them, in order to allow them to be able to do their hobbies more efficiently.

If you want the typical person to use it, you have to offer something worthwhile for them. A load of self-obsessed morons shouting about taking a dump or eating a sprout on Twitter is of no interest to most sane people!

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It's just makework as usual

Sounds like the usual EC thing. Lots of underemployed civil servants trying to justify their continued existence by telling us what we need, and spending our taxes to do it.

It's striking that amidst all these plans to help EU members deal with their debt problems, no MEPs have yet suggested a 25% reduction in EC "fonctionnaires" and the cost-savings that could be achieved by all EU members there.

Oh, wait. They're all too busy holiday^H^H^H^H^H^H^H studying in Madeira...

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Go

Minimum standard

Perhaps the government needs to define a minimum standard of access, that is anyone in the country is guaranteed a connection of say 128kb and anyone earning below a certain threshold is entitled to a free computer (take old machines thrown out by richer people and businesses, put linux on them, give them away free - avoids them going to landfill too)...

Especially with a lot of government services moving online, they really need to make sure everyone has some level of access, and it doesn't need to be especially fast.

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MJI
Silver badge

My parents - got rid of their internet

Rarely used it, only did emails, too much spam so just cancelled their dial up account.

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my folks

live in a spanish town with a population over 1000 people including a school yet Telefonica can't be arsed with providing a service they are still stuck in the 70s, so dial up is all that is on offer unless you get a satellite which can be several thousands for the up link.

At 3.4kps the internet is suddenly really pointless.

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Other factors?

My in-laws live in the Czech Republic, as do several friends. All are intelligent, reasonably well-informed people in good jobs. None have internet at home. When asked why, the answer is "We have it at work - why should I pay for it? I'd only end up getting work to do at home". Thus, two elements come to the fore - one is (presumably) relaxed internet access policies at work (for instance, several are on Facebook), and the other is the *very* serious attitude some non-Anglo-Saxon countries take towards the work/life balance.

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Silver badge

Performance is not always that good

Even in France, where I live, performance is rather frequently lacking. I have a good line, rated at up to 20 mbps. At any time of day, I get 8 mbps minimum. I have a full contract, TV, phone and Internet access, no capping (as was remarked earlier).

Internet access is by far the most reliable. I frequently have the same IP for weeks at a time (it only changes when the line goes down or I turn off the box).

The phone is a bit more dodgy. Sometimes I hear of people who phoned me but I never got the call. Other times I want to phone someone and I get an incomprehensible "this number does not exist" error. Try again and it works. The number is recorded in the phone, so it's not a typing error.

Of the lot, TV is actually the worst performer. It regularly stutters, there is frame drop, sometimes the connection is entirely lost for a few seconds. When it works, it works fine, but it fails so often that when we can watch a whole show without any issue it's more of a surprise than anything else.

In such conditions, Internet TV has been relegated to the backup solution when satellite reception quality is too dodgy. And if it starts acting up at that point, well it's either pop in a DVD or go read a book.

Frankly, I feel that the Internet is not the best medium for this kind of usage. Either that, or there's serious need of improving backbone bandwidth capacity, even in France.

I shudder to think of the situation in the UK. I really don't see how they can offer Internet TV with any hope of reliability from all the capping and bandwidth issues I read here and there.

But Internet access itself ? Fine and dandy.

Then again, I'm fluent in both French and English, so the Web is vast for me.

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