New generations grew up having internet access as a given, at least in some parts of the world. While the most developed urban areas benefit from fast and widespread internet connection, rural areas or those in the process of development are facing serious issues in providing internet to citizens.


Nowadays, digital technologies and the internet are essential for work activities, education, social interactions, healthcare, transport or e-commerce. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of digital transformation and use of the internet, but at the same time, the OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2020 shows that the crisis has amplified disparities between internet users and those without this opportunity.


How could internet access be expressed in numbers?


What about the digital divide?

There are real gaps between people who have access to the internet and the digital space, or those who have limited or no access to it. Currently, the digital divide is holding back almost half of the world’s population and it has three main forms: the access divide, the use divide and the quality-of-use gap. To bridge these gaps, digital literacy and education are needed, raising awareness and increasing public understanding of the benefits of technology into people’s lives, but also investing in digital infrastructures.


Young people, youth workers and the internet

Young people have brought more added value to internet-based opportunities than ever before. They are now able to conduct cutting-edge research using new technologies, to implement innovative ideas and to be up to date with digital advancement. Youth workers, trainers and other experts in the youth sector are also relying on internet services to bring their activities to the next level. They are able to use interactive digital tools that make the best use of young people’s creativity, passion and determination into delivering the promise of NextGen Internet.


Cezara Panait
Cezara Panait

Cezara Panait is the Head of Digital Policy at the think-tank Europuls – Centre of European Expertise, where she is leading the research and policy activity on emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, automation and digital platforms. She frequently publishes press articles and moderates high-level debates with policy-makers on these topics. Through her activities, she wants to contribute to strengthening an open and transparent debate framework between all actors involved in the decision-making process.