Interactive / Journalism

Broadband access has rapidly increased in Europe since 2006 but not for the poorest

I used Many Eyes, a visualisation tool by IBM, to look at the increasing percentage of people who had access to broadband from 2006 to 2011. As you can see by the map here, there has been a great increase in the number of people with access to broadband over this five year period.

Broadband Access in Europe compared from 2011 to 2006

Many Eyes

The country with the biggest increase in broadband access from 2006-2011 was Ireland. In 2006 only 13% of households had broadband access and according to EuroStats Public Data that has increased to 65% in 2011. This suggests great improvement in internet facilities but also more interest in attaining broadband access in the public sector.

The country in Europe with the worst broadband access in 2011 is Romania. In Romania only 31% of households have broadband access. This seems to be closely linked with ability to spend on such resources.

To show this I compared broadband access figures with a graph that charts different minimum wages in Europe. This data is publicly available from Google and can be found here.

Bi-annual gross minimum wages per month in Euro or Purchasing Power Parities. This dataset was prepared by Google based on data downloaded from Eurostat.

As the visualation indicates, Lithuania has the second lowest minimium wage figures in Europe. This suggests a truly failing economy.

You could therefore suggest a correlation between poor economy and limited broadband access. Vice versa, it is noticeable that Luxembourg has the best wages and 68% of the households there had broadband access in 2011.

Surely having broadband access is crucial for developing countries with weaker economies. The internet offers the chance to research and also allows you to make connections. Of course, there will not solve deep economic recession. But used in the right way, broadband access could inspire individuality and productivity.


You can look at the data set that I used from EuroStats here.

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