NEWS

Few Greeks do business online

One in five Greeks with access to the Internet has used electronic state services to take care of official paperwork, according to research results released yesterday, but Greece remains well behind its technologically more advanced EU peers. According to research by the National Statistics Service (NSS), in the first quarter of the year 19 percent of Greeks who had online access dealt with the state over the Internet. The survey, which questioned 4,896 households across Greece, showed that technologically savvy Greeks mostly use the electronic services of the tax office and the state manpower organization, OAED. Just over half of taxpayers aged 30-44 did business with the tax office online, while 60 percent of job seekers aged between 25-34 said they had accessed OAED electronically. «The percentage of those who are interested in using the Internet in the future reaches 35.3 percent. Most of them are aged between 20 and 34, are secondary school graduates and salary earners,» NSS said. According to the statistics service, 28.9 percent of Greeks were online in the first quarter of the year. The figure is well behind other EU members especially as far as broadband technology is concerned. According to industry officials, 5.7 percent of all telephone lines in Greece offer broadband, which is faster Internet service. The figure remains well behind other countries such as Finland and Spain, where broadband penetration rates are at 40 and 24.5 percent respectively. «With the exception of certain applications… the electronic services offered online by the government are at initial stages,» NSS added. NSS officials believe that the percentage of people who have access to the Internet but demur from doing business on the Web remains high. One of the main reasons people avoid the Internet is that they prefer to deal with public services in person. One in three also cited concern about the security of personal data being sent electronically while 15 percent said that they were simply ignorant when it came to using electronic services.