[Some excerpts from article in Converge Digest -- BSA]
Information/Communication Drives 50% of EU growth
Public and private information and communication technology (ICT) continues to grow faster than Europe's overall economy, and contributed nearly 50% of EU productivity growth between 2000 and 2004.
The European Commission's annual progress report on i2010 shows that Europeans are quickly embracing new online services. This is supported by a record number of new broadband connections: 20.1 million new broadband lines, connected in the year to October 2006, with high broadband penetration rates in The Netherlands (30%) and the Nordic Countries (25-29%). The online content market is forecast to grow rapidly for the next five years, as already seen with the explosive growth of online music sales and user-created content.
Six countries – Denmark, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, the UK and Belgium – all have higher broadband penetration rates than the US and Japan. Such broadband penetration levels have positive knock-on effects. For example ICT-deployment in Danish schools is the highest in the Europe, and Danish businesses are the EU's most advanced Internet and eBusiness users; the British and Swedish workforce are the most skilled in ICT; the Dutch are the most avid consumers of games and music online; and Finland has Europe's highest use of public access points and invests the most in ICT research (64.3% of its R&D business expenditure) – Sweden and Finland also spend 3.9% and 3.5% of their GDP on research, this being over the EU's 3% target. http://www.europa.eu 30-Mar-07