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One in three Europeans never been online

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Research from the European Commission has found that one in three Europeans have never used the internet.

This is considered an improvement from 2007 when 40 per cent had never been online. 38 per cent of households said they didn't need to be online, 25 per cent blamed cost of equipment and 21 per cent blamed the cost of access.

Most of the refuseniks are elderly, economically inactive and "the low educated".

But its not all bad news. The report finds: "Half of European households and more than 80% of European businesses have a fixed broadband connection, three quarters of them with average download speeds above 2 Mega Bit per second (MB/s)."

The Digital Competiveness Report found that small and medium sized businesses were adopting new technology more slowly than large enterprises. It also found that the ICT industry is being hit by the recession less hard than other businesses. But while the telecoms equipment industry and semiconductors are suffering the "internet industry" is "weathering the storm better than any other part of the sector".

The Commission also reckons that some areas such as online advertising will actually benefit from the downturn because advertisers will move online and away from traditional media. This growth will not offset the fall in traditional ads which means overall ad spending will fall 6.9 per cent.

In fact the recession could be beneficial for the Web, we are told, as consumers spend more time at home, online and consuming media. ®

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