The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies
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The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies

Measuring Inclusion and Diffusion in Europe

Edited by Paolo Guerrieri and Sara Bentivegna

The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies offers a profoundly illuminating examination of ICT transformations in Europe and its critical role in greater social inequality. It presents scholars and policy makers with original and practical tools to benchmark and assess the ICT diffusion and inclusion process. The core message of the book is that a coherent European strategy for embedding ICT technologies in society is long overdue.
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Chapter 2: The Internet in everyday life


2.1 DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE As stated in Chapter 1, the availability of a good technological infrastructure is the sine qua non for a positive outcome of the Internet appropriation process. In fact, without access points and differentiated forms of connection, the individual process of domestication of technology is doomed to failure. To describe the state and quality of the Internet infrastructure in Europe and in the European Member States, three subdimensions (network; affordability; and availability and quality) have been identified to cast light on the various aspects of the real access opportunities offered to individuals. In the disaggregation of the infrastructure dimension performed in this research, the network subdimension plays a fundamental role: it comprises indicators which monitor the conditions of the technological infrastructure existing in a given country. In other words, the network subdimension constitutes a sort of precondition for Internet diffusion and usage: there can be no development and improvement without a technological infrastructure. In recent years, increasingly greater attention has been attached to broadband penetration rate; that is, to the type of connection that permits one to carry out numerous activities (downloading of images, music, and so on), which would be impossible with the old connections. This indicator shows how widely broadband access to the Internet has spread in the countries on the general level. In fact, the broadband penetration rate describes the number of dedicated high-speed connections per 100 inhabitants. Although at times criticized for using individuals and not households as the basis for...

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