In association with heise online

13 June 2008, 11:03

One third of Europe faces digital divide

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The digital divide between urban, well-connected homes and those in rural areas is still increasing, according to the European Regional Information Society Association (Erisa). Announcing the launch of its European Broadband Portal at its conference in Newport on Thursday, the association described rural and remote communities as having "a growing distance from the Information Society".

The portal offers news, information sharing and guidance for the whole broadband community from strategic planners and implementers to users. Several case studies showed that the dividing line between the digitally enabled and the marginalised can be very sharp. One delegate from a remote rural community in the UK described how her neighbour had 512kbps broadband but it could not be brought to her own cottage next door. Such case studies emphasised why development of broadband services into rural areas throughout Europe is erisa's current highest priority – the organisation estimates that up to a third of the European population risks being digitally marginalised.

Erisa's conference takes place just a day after the e-crime Wales Summit, and an e-crime plenary session was presented by Tony Neate, Managing Director of Get Safe Online and a founding member of e-crime Wales, and Simon Perry of ThinkingString, whose special interest is the human aspects of identity and access management. An erisa spokesman told heise Security that the organisation does not view security as a separate thread, but integrates it into all erisa initiatives.

Founded in 1998, Erisa is an umbrella organisation for European regions for the sharing of best practice in ICT. It currently supports around 35 agencies including regional governments, primarily supporting the introduction and development of electronic infrastructures.


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