Over half of Europe's households plugged into Internet"”EU

More than half of European households have access to the Internet, the European Commission, quoted by an AFP report, said.

The AFP report said according to figures from the European Union's Eurostat data agency, 52% of households could log onto the Internet in the first quarter of this year, compared with 48% for the same period of 2005.

About 32% had a broadband connection, which allows fast access, compared with 23% last year, the AFP report said.

However, Internet penetration rates vary widely from 80% in the Netherlands and 79% in Denmark to 23% in Greece and 27% in Slovakia, the report said.

Eurostat's data showed that 47% of Europeans used the Internet at least once a week.

Internet use was much higher among youths with 73% of those between 16 and 24 years old surfing the Web at least once a week, the report said.

Men also used the Internet more than women, with 51% using it once a week compared with 43% for women.

The data showed that 94% of EU companies had Internet access in the first quarter of the year and that 75% of them had broadband access, the AFP report further said.