More than half of Europe's citizens now use the internet regularly, 80% of them via a high-speed connection, the European Commission's Digital Competitiveness report published today revealed.
But the European Commission believes there is more to do, and today launched a public consultation on the way forward.
The commission study found that Europeans under the age of 24 - the "digital generation" - are reluctant to pay for downloads or to view online content such as videos or music. One-third of this age group said they are not willing to pay anything at all.
But 10% of young users had paid for online content, compared with an EU average of 5% across all ages. They were also more willing to pay for better service and quality .
One-third of EU citizens still have not used the internet, the study said, and only 7% of consumers have shopped online in another member state.
"Europe is still behind the US and Japan in R&D investments in information and communication technologies (ICT), high-speed broadband communications, and developing innovative markets like online advertising," it said.