The European Commission recently lifted the barriers for the public sector
services, nationally and regionally, arguing, at the end of May, that its
initial plan to connect all the schools to the Internet is almost complete.
The next target is to make the transition of the public services - mainly
schools and hospitals - to broadband access, Erkki Liikanen, EC's representative
for enterprises and information society, declared.
According to a poll conducted by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, the Internet
penetration in countries like Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Germany
and UK is almost 100%. Spain comes last in this top, with only 59% of
the schools having access to the Internet. Despite the good figures, the
Flash Eurobarometers study estimated that the broadband access is still
The report for the European Commission shows that less than 20% of the
European schools have ADSL access (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
and only 5% use cable access. 25% of the connected schools still use the
dial-up connection, and 60% connect through ISDN lines (Integrated Services
The local authorities have massively migrated to the Internet. Sweden
comes first in a recent list of countries that run their administration
operations online. Between October 2001 and April 2002, Sweden reported
a 20% increase of the number of administration websites. Still, without
broadband, the e-government lacks its most important feature: being interactive.
The immediate purpose in the e-Europe 2000 plan, unveiled by Liikanen
at the end of May is to provided all the national and local boards with
completely interactive sites, before the end of 2004, and broadband access
in all schools before the end of 2005.