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This study has been commissioned by the Directorate General Information and Media of the European Commission in order to provide policy makers with a quantitative evaluation of the impacts of broadband technology on the European economy. This research has been undertaken at a very interesting time, when the calculation of such impact is far from trivial, but intense work and numerous datasets are available worldwide and provide a basis for a quantitative analysis of the impact of broadband. This study not only draws attention to figures and results; it also provides elements of a structural analysis of the way broadband influences evolution in the economy and contributes to growth and employment creation in Europe.
Section 1 gives an overview of the available broadband technologies, for non-specialist readers. Essential statistics and empirical evidence of the broadband development in Europe are presented, in Section 2, and synthesized in three composite indexes . These indexes highlight disparities in the development of broadband infrastructure across the European member states and provide a basis for grouping the countries according to their broadband development . Before going further in the analysis, Section 3 describes cases of successful broadband development in Cornwall (UK) and Piedmont (Italy), and their impact on the local economy. Section 4 analyzes the impact of broadband on productivity for several kinds of users, at the micro-economic and macro-economic level. These results are used in Section 5 to assess the impact of broadband on growth and employment. Sections 6 and 7, respectively, present development scenarios until 2015 and policy recommendations for successful development of broadband in Europe.