Belgium is a federal state, comprising three region and three communities. Some data's are related to the whole country, some to the French speaking community (4,5 million), and some to the region of Wallonia, where the mainly spoken language is the French.
Source : SPF Economie - INS, statistiques démographiques. http://www.statbel.fgov.be
12-18 year olds represent 8,1% of the Belgian population (847 067 people).
Source : Institut National de Statistiques, http://ecodata.mineco.fgov.be
According to the DIGITAL Access Index, calculated by the International Telecommunication Union ( http://www.itu.int ), Belgium is in 20th position (of 178) with an index of 0,74 (more details in the international data chapter below).
Source : SPF Economie - INS, Commission européenne et INRA, http://www.statbel.fgov.be
Source : ISPA Belgium asbl, http://www.ispa.be
According to a recent BIM survey, 73% of people who have Internet access at home (about 2,5 people) use a broadband connection. The impact on Internet use of such a fast connection is huge (see below).
In 2003, a survey of 'The uses and diffusion of ICT' was carried out by the Walloon Agency of Telecommunications (AWT). It noted that 54% of Walloon households are equipped with a computer, that is to say 61% of people of 15 years old and more. The household structure (size, presence of children, single person households) and the educational level of the head of household and his income seem to be factors which influence the acquisition of a computer. Needs in relation to the profession or the studies of one of the members of the household are the primary motivation for acquiring computer equipment.
This survey stresses that having Internet access at home should appreciably increase the probability of somebody being a personal user of the Internet and of them using it in an intensive way. In the same way, the use of the Internet at work or in the place of study strongly favours regular use. Finally, the probability of being a user as well as the regularity of the use, both increase with the age of the connection; this would mean that availability of and access to the Internet constitute an incentive for users.
This survey also reveals the different places where the Internet is used. 71% of Net surfers have access to this media at home. The second most common place of access is the parents' or friend's residence, but this use is occasional. The workplace is used by a third of Net surfers. Access at school or university is quite common, even if students represent only 10% of those over 15 years. These students use also public access points.
Finally, the survey supplies information about the Internet and children.
Parents were asked if they supervised how their children used the Internet. 37% systematically supervise the sites visited by their child, 22% do it on an ad hoc basis and 42% don't supervise at all.
Source : «Usages et diffusion des TIC : Citoyens 2003», http://www.awt.be
A very recent survey presents Belgium as the leader in broadband penetration, in March 2005.
European Broadband Penetration Rates - Percentage of Households
Source : http://www.heavyreading.com 03/05
According to information available at EC, the situation of the Internet at schools is:
Source : Commission Européenne Juin 2001 - EDSIS 1999/2000 http://www.statbel.fgov.be
We can be sure that the present situation is very far from those data's. The government of Brussels's and Wallonia's regions provided computers and Internet access to all schools but there is no data taking into account people's use on the Internet. Some courses introduce peoples to the use of Internet, but far more in a technical approach than considering topics of critical reading.
According to information available in Eurostat, the situation of mobile phones is:
Source : Eurostat and International Telecommunication Union, http://www.statbel.fgov.be
According to the survey mentioned above ('The uses and diffusion of ITC'), 81% of Walloon people of 15 years old and more have a mobile phone (63% of the 11-14 group).
Rural zones (79%) lag a little behind urban and semi-urban zones (85%) in the adoption of mobile phones. Mobile phone ownership remains problematic for those on low incomes and for people with a low level of education.
Why do parents provide their children with a mobile phone? To be able to contact them at any time (46%), for reassurance (27%), for their child's leisure and comfort (16%), under pressure from the children themselves (8%), don't know (3%).
Young people (15-21 years old) need to be in constant contact with each other.
SMS is one of the most popular services. 81% of mobile phone users said they have already sent or received SMS, a figure rising to 100% of 15-21 year olds.
12% of mobile phones are equipped with the GPRS protocol, and 31% with WAP and I-Mode functions, but use of these is quite low (3% regularly, 12% occasionally). 3G mobile phones will appear in Belgium in May 2005, at first for professional use.
Some mobile phones can take photos, and once again this is more popular with the younger public. Currently, the development of this functionality is marginal but it will certainly increase in the future.
Source : «Usages et diffusion des TIC : Citoyens 2003» : http://www.awt.be
In 2000, 21% of households had a games console. There is competition between the three new games consoles, Microsoft 's Xbox, Sony's PlayStation 2 and GameCube and GameBoy Advance.
Source : SPF Economie - INS, Enquête sur les budgets des ménages http://www.statbel.fgov.be
A new generation of consoles appeared with the Nintendo Ds, a portable console equipped with two screens (one a touch screen), a system of voice recognition and cordless multi-player options. This new console gives for the first time opportunity to play with other players in a radius of 30 meter. It would be necessary to observe young people's new uses, especially when they start to play with "strangers". Indeed, Nintendo, in the presentation of this new game console, stresses that 'The cordless options of communication of the Nintendo DS, like PictoChat, are not protected from some manner that it is and are not controlled by Nintendo. We recommend that you never reveal personal information and never make appointments with strangers.
Source : Présentation Nintendo DS, http://www.nintendo-europe.com