EC to investigate digital divide

EC is latest to be concerned about the possibility of a digital divide

The European Commission is to undertake a study into the emerging digital divide, according to an official from the Council of Europe.

The issue of who will have access to the Internet in a wired society is one that is currently high on governments' agendas. The UK government last week announced it was to put PCs and Internet access in 12,000 homes in some of the most deprived rural and urban areas in the country as part of a £10m programme dubbed Wired up Communities. The idea that some sections of society are being excluded from the Internet revolution is of great concern on both sides of the Atlantic.

The EC's decision to look at the issue was announced as part of an online chat on Tuesday involving MEPs, officials from various European bodies and interested parties organised by Eping (European Parliamentarian's Internet Group).

The chat was hosted by MEP Diana Wallis, the chair of Eping. She believes online forums like this are a vital part of e-democracy and could go some way to solving the digital divide problems. "Discussing the topic of the Digital Divide showed the potential of the Internet in exploring possible solutions to problems that are faced all over the world," she said.

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