REGIONAL-IST – ICT development at the regional level HOUSEHOLDS (Summary for the press)

2003. 11. 18.

Since 2001 GKIeNET Internet Research and Consulting Ltd. has been participating in a joint research project in cooperation with several research institutes in Western Europe within the framework of the EU-funded Regional-IST program. GKI’s Research partners include

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Italy

Fraunhofer-Institut für Systemtechnik und Innovationsforschung (ISI), Germany

Generalitat de Catalunya (IS Observatory – OBSI), Spain

Observatório das Ciências e das Tecnologias, Portugal

Politecnico di Torino, Italy

The purpose of this program is to analyze e-government and e-economy applications and to assess the use of information and communication technology at the regional (sub-national) level. Eventually, the project will gather and sort out the most effective assessment methods to evaluate the ICT infrastructure of regions.  Assessments at the regional level will provide an explanation for developmental differences within countries, in which the use of ICT  tools obviously plays a key role. Regional data are of particular importance to representatives of the business sector (investors, dealers, etc.) and the government sector alike. For more information on this project, please visit

The first round of research in late 2002 assessed the ICT use of households, corporations as well as the government sector. The present report outlines the results of the household survey in an international regional comparison. The data for Hungary and Portugal pertain to the entire countries, given that their size makes them comparable to regions in the European Union.

Key findings:

In comparison to the other regions included in the survey (Baden-Württemberg, Catalonia, Piedmont, Portugal), Hungary has fewer households with computers and internet access. At the same time, those who use the internet on a regular basis in Hungary tend to take advantage of online shopping at an average rate. 31% of Hungarian households have computers, but only 9% have internet access at home.  In Baden-Württemberg, the most advanced region, 61% of the households have computers and 47% use the internet.

In all regions under study, men are more likely than women to use the internet. The smallest gap between men and women was seen in Portugal.

The majority of people who use the internet on a regular basis in Hungary have internet access at home, while the workplace is the second prominent location where people have access to the internet. Compared with other regions, the workplace plays a remarkably large role in internet access in Hungary.

In terms of online shopping, internet users in Hungary rank in the middle of the five regions, following Baden-Württemberg and Catalonia but preceding Piedmont and Portugal.

Detailed results of the research project:

The results of the survey show that 31% of all Hungarian households have computers, which places Hungary in the worst position among the regions under study. Households in Baden-Württemberg are the most likely (twice as likely as Hungarian households) to use computers at home, but Piedmont is also above the 50% rate. Households in Catalonia and Portugal are in the middle, with computer penetration rates of 48% and 38%, respectively.

Percentage of households with one or more computers (%)


Internet access from home shows greater regional variation than computer access. While almost 50% of households in Baden-Württemberg and Piedmont can access the internet from their homes, only one out of eleven Hungarian households have internet connection at home. One-third of all households in Catalonia and one-fifth of all households in Portugal have internet access at home.

Percentage of households with internet access (%)


In general, men are more likely than women to use the internet in all regions under study. The smallest gap between men and women was seen in Portugal.

Similar results are found in an intra-regional comparison. People in Hungary are the least likely to use the internetL:16% of men and only 11% of women use the internet at least on a weekly basis. In Catalonia and Piedmont, more than 40% of all men use the internet on a regular basis, while Portugal is closer to the position of Hungary at a rate of 21%.

Regular (at least weekly) internet use in the population of 15 years and above by gender (%)


The majority of regular internet users have access to the internet from their homes in all regions. At-home internet access rates are as follows: 77% in Catalonia, 84% in Piedmont and 70% in Hungary. Workplace is the second prominent location where people have access to the internet. Compared with other regions, the workplace plays a remarkably large role (56%) in internet access in Hungary. Internet access at work is significant in other regions, as well: Hungary is followed by Piedmont and Catalonia in this respect.

School is the third most prevalent location of internet access for those who use the web on a regular basis. In Hungary and Portugal, approximately one-fourth of the adult population is able to access the internet in schools, compared with 11-20% in the other regions.


Only a small percentage of frequent internet users make purchases online in all regions. Hungary’s shortfall is not so significant in this respect, given that it ranks third after Baden-Württemberg and Catalonia, ahead of the highly developed Piedmont and Portugal.   While one-fourth of all frequent internet users in Catalonia have made purchases over the internet, Hungary shows a rate of 18%, and Portugal lags behind with a rate of only 12%.

Online shoppers as a percentage of frequent internet users (%)



BW – Baden-Württemberg

CT – Catalonia

HU – Hungary

PI – Piedmont

PT – Portugal

Participating regions:

Catalonia (E)

Baden-Württemberg (D)

Hungary (H)

Piedmont (I)

Portugal (PT)

Per capita GDP (in thousands of euros)


Population density

(inhabitant / km2)

Number of local governments

Number of companies

Unemployment rate