Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 18:13 UK

Europe's net refuseniks revealed

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Young people lead the charge onto the internet across Europe

One third of Europeans have never used the net, according to an EU report.

The study, which examined the region's digital landscape over the last five years, also revealed that more than one in four Europeans had never used a PC.

More than one in three of the digital refuseniks said they did not see the need for a connection while nearly one quarter said they could not afford it.

People above the age of 65 and the unemployed were the least active online, it said.

However, the study also revealed that in 2008 56% of Europeans had become regular internet users, up one third since 2004.

More than 80% of those now have a high-speed internet connection, compared to one third in 2004. Most of these had download speeds greater than 2 megabits per second (Mbps) it showed.

Countries such as Latvia and Estonia lead the web 2.0 charge with higher proportions of their populations uploading home made digital content to web sites than in any of the other 25 states in the survey.

Young people across the European Union have led the charge on to the net, it revealed.

Nearly 70% of people under the age of 24 use the internet every day, compared to the EU average of 43%.

But this same group is reluctant to pay to download or use online content, such as music or video, with 33% saying that they would not pay anything at all.

"These young people are intensive internet users and are also highly demanding consumers," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

"To release the economic potential of these 'digital natives', we must make access to digital content an easy and fair game."

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