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Millions in the EU still unable to afford internet

7.6% of people at risk of poverty in the EU are unable to afford internet connection
7.6% of people at risk of poverty in the EU are unable to afford internet connection Copyright Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle
Copyright Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle
By Mared Gwyn Jones
Published on
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Millions of EU citizens were last year unable to afford a connection to the internet, according to new data released on Tuesday by Eurostat.

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About 2.4% of the European Union's 450 million inhabitants were unable to afford an internet connection in 2022, the statistical agency found.

In an encouraging sign, this figure is 0.3% lower than in the previous year. 

The figure rises to 7.6% when looking at people considered at risk of poverty. 

The share of the total and at-risk-of-poverty population unable to afford internet connection varies significantly across EU countries. 

In Romania, a staggering one in four of those at risk of poverty were unable to afford internet connection in 2022, with Bulgaria (20.5%) and Hungary (16.5%) also recording high shares. The lowest shares were registered in Denmark and Finland (both 1.0%), followed by Cyprus and Luxembourg (both 1.5%).

People at risk of poverty are those with an income below 60% of the national median.

The findings show that access to the internet remains a challenge for more vulnerable social groups in the EU, with affordability a key barrier. 

In 2022, the share of EU households with internet access had risen to 93%, up from 72% in 2011.

The so-called 'universal service' obligation means that all EU citizens should have access to a functional and affordable internet connection, and digital communications are considered an 'essential service' in the EU.

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