Estonia becomes European leader in Internet usage

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Estonia, which has tried to emulate Scandinavia's technological development since its independence in 1991, is now one of Europe's most wired countries

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Tallinn, Estonia —The Northern European country of Estonia is facing a boom in Internet usage due to low prices and a dynamic market. In recent years, the country has tried to emulate the Scandinavian model of technological infrastructure and is now considered to be the most technologically-advanced of the former-Communist countries of Europe. Estonia, which joined the European Union in 2004, has also exceeded other members and has become a leader in European internet usage.

The country is now one of the world's largest per-capita users of online banking, which has surged due to the growth in number of Internet leased-line connections. More impressively, the country is a European leader in terms of the number of permanent high-speed Internet connections. It is outstripped only by Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and France, and thus ranks 7th in the 25-member European Union in terms of broadband Internet penetration.

Estonia's Internet boom has also been due in part of government policy. The government now wants to use the 450 MHz band to create a new digital wireless network that would cover the entire country. Edvard Saarma, the chief of the Communications Department at the Economy Ministry, said that, "In principle, this will be like a large Wi-Fi network that will cover all of Estonia."