The latest report on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) published by Istat noted as yet few Italians use the Internet compared to the European average. The numbers are growing compared to previous years, but a strong gap remains if one looks at international standards.
Data from the SDGs report and the causes of the digital divide
The study found that in Italy the percentage of regular internet use in 2021 (for the age group 10-74) has reached80,2%. An increase of 3,8% compared to 2020.
However, despite this improvement, Italy is still far from the European average of people who regularly surf the web, in the same age group, i.e. the87%. It should be noted that the use of the network is inversely proportional to the age of the user: it is the youngest (16-19 years) who use the Internet on a daily basis (96,8%).
As is now known to many, the exclusion from the network of a large portion of the population takes the name of digital divide (“digital divide”). This phenomenon has various causes: from economic or cultural reasons to the lack of infrastructure.
In Italy, this new form of social inequality was investigated by Istat in the 2020 Report on Fair and Sustainable Welfare (BES). The study found that the causes of the Italian digital divide mainly depend on thegeographic area (that is, a lower availability of adequate devices and connections in the South, which is 10 percentage points behind the North), and from often high costs of the Wi-Fi subscription.
If one looks at the data on the price gap in the EU for having a good Internet connection, contained in the SDGs report, in fact, one discovers that it is precisely the countries of the Mediterranean-Adriatic area (including Italy) that pay the most, in addition to have the least efficient performance.
Overcoming the digital gap: objectives and possible solutions
International organizations and the Italian government itself took note of this problem several years ago. In Italy, for example, the National Strategy for Digital Skills, while the UN has indicated 17 sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030.
But while waiting for these initiatives to bear fruit, it is possible to implement some solutions practical and fast, independently, to have access to the Internet and use it without problems.
One of them is opting for a economic subscription and designed for home use, choosing the cheapest one on the market. For instance Facile.it suggests various fiber offers for the home, comparing the possible solutions online and thus making the choice of the best offer simple, quick and independent. Given the lack of infrastructure, this resource also allows for check internet coverage of your area: a very useful tool for having a mapping of the area you are in as regards ADSL.
Another trick that will save on Internet costs is delete all additional services, if not necessary, which weigh on the formula used. Telephone companies often add costs to guarantee the customer a constant connection, but this type of subscription will not always be needed. It is very important to read all the carefully information contained in the contract before accepting.
Finally, it is crucial pay attention to any promotional price of the subscription: usually it lasts 12 or 24 months from the activation of the contract, but then it increases up to double. Therefore it is important to evaluate the price of the fully operational contract.
How the use of the Internet is changing in Italy
Although Italy is still behind in terms of digitization, as we have seen, the data on the use of the Internet is growing. In the 16-64 age group the 97% of the population uses smartphones (in 2017 it was 85%), and the average time spent daily on any device (pc, tablet, etc.) is 6 hours and minutes 22. In 2018, the average was 2,3 hours a day, and today the data has more than doubled. The most used social media are Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, while the most downloaded apps in 2021 were PosteID, IO and Vinted.
Ultimately, it seems clear that the use of the Internet is becoming increasingly massive throughout the world, but there is no shortage of discrimination, even in the digital world. For this first look to the future and think about new technologies, perhaps it would be better to solve the current problems.