The briefing takes stock of the digital connectivity of European rural households and provides an overview of the current state of digitalisation of rural areas.

The document highlights the significant progress achieved in the last years regarding the objectives defined in the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Nevertheless, the digital divide remains large. While urban areas were well on their way to reaching the objective of 100% household coverage in 2020, only an estimated 65% of rural households enjoyed access to broadband speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s in 2018.

Supplying broadband coverage in remote areas is markedly less cost-efficient for network providers, but plays an important role in preventing a digital divide and reducing socio-economic externalities resulting from remoteness. Digitalisation is an increasingly rapid phenomenon, and the basic requirement for preventing a digital divide is to ensure simultaneous access to these latest technologies both in rural and urban areas. This will enable to develop and evolve from the same starting point, at an equal pace towards a shared future.

A presentation on this topic was also given at the first EU Rural Digitalisation Forum meeting, that took place on 10 September 2020. Watch the video recording here.

More briefings developed by DESIRA can be found here.