RS 2: Europe

Europe’s Other Half Lives Offline – and That’s Everyone’s Problem

Mark Scott, the author of the article and the chief technology correspondent at POLITICO, asserts that the European digital divide is vast and that European policymakers are attempting to fix the gap. He starts by stating that “policy makers are in a mad dash to unify the Continent’s fractured online world [and] provide the region’s 500 million citizens unfettered access to services such as movie streaming, cloud computing and online shopping by 2020” (1). He goes on to compare the differences in digital services between Northern Europe and Southern Europe. Northern Europeans, such as Finns, Swedes, and Scandinavians, are “better prepared for the coming digital tidal wave” (1) because the digital services there are some of the best in the world. In countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, countries deemed to be central to Europe’s economic future, “barely half of the population surfs the web each week” (1) due to the Southern European high barrier to entry “coupled with the sluggish rollout of broadband and high-speed mobile networks”(1). By stating that in the last year: “four out of five people in Germany and the United Kingdom bought something over the internet, in Italy and Spain, less than one out of every two people shop online, and Romania, one out of every eight consumers shop online” (1), he shows the reasons policy makers want to move quickly. Finally, he asserts that Southern policymakers need to get Northern policy makers on board to help close the digital divide, otherwise, the economics divisions are at risk to widen. He notes the “complexities of corralling 27member countries to support a united digital front” and how it “may look a little lumpy” (1). European lawmakers want to provide equal access to their people to close the divide, but it may worsen existing regional equalities which is not what they want.

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