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Only 60% of Italians use the internet: the country is penultimate in Europe


 by Lorenzo Zanini –

Italy is still in penultimate place in European Union rankings for internet use, even though the percentage of the population that uses the web rose by three percentage points in 2016, reaching 60%. This picture was unveiled by the president of communications watchdog Agcom, Angelo Cardani, who yesterday presented the authority’s annual report to the Italian parliament.

Positive signs are also coming from the media market, where both TV and telecoms are returning to growth, while the publishing industry is limping along still, held hostage by a crisis that is now structural. And in a TV sector that is still dominated by the three big players, Sky remains the king of revenues with a 32% share of the market, but Rai is in second place on the podium, with close to 30%, surpassing Mediaset with 28%.

In Italy, the internet is used less than the EU average for purchases, banking services and on-demand video. It is used in line with the average for social networks, while the only area where it is above average is in the consumption of digital content (music, videos, online games).

While only 33% of people in the 65-74 age range access the internet, among the 14-34 age range that percentage rises to 92%. Over 50-year-olds dedicate more time to videos and news, while young people focus on communication, above all social networks, and games and music.

Web navigation presupposes greater broadband coverage of the national territory. Cardani recalled that national coverage with ultra-fast broadband networks made “a decisive leap forward” in 2016.
The Agcom president clarified that coverage increased from 41% of housing units in 2015 to 72% last year (considering the European criteria). Cardani said all of this made “a substantial nearing to the objectives of the European digital agenda” possible for Italy.
Analyzing the usage data, he added, “our gap with Europe, while shrinking compared to 2015, still remains decisively elevated. The percentage of the population subscribed to ultra-fast broadband networks has gone from 5% in 2015 to 12% in 2016, nevertheless, we remain in 25th place in European rankings and below the average for usage (EU average for ultra-fast broadband usage is 37%).”
He said the development of networks did not always correspond to greater market penetration, highlighting further difficulties in the spreading of services, including spending capacity.

According to Agcom, public-private synergy represents “an opportunity to recover the delay compared to other European countries in the realization of networks, and as a consequence, in the use of high quality access services (at least 30 megabits per second of download capacity) on the part of subscribers.”



by Lorenzo Zanini | © ITALY EUROPE 24

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