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Nine out of ten Latvian households have Internet access

According to the annual survey on use of information and communication technologies in households carried out by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB), the share of households with Internet in 2020 has reached 89.7 %.

As compared to 2019, in 2020 the share of households using broadband Internet connection has increased by 4.3 %. If in 2019 broadband Internet connection was used by 83.3 % of households, in 2020 this number already reached 87.6 %. Mostly broadband Internet connection is used in Riga region (89.6 %) and Zemgale region (89.6), but the least – in Latgale (80.3 %). In urban areas broadband Internet connection is available to 88.7 % of households, but in rural areas – to 84.7 % of households. Over a year availability of broadband Internet connection in rural area has increased by 6.8 %.

In 2020, as compared to the previous year, the number of regular Internet users (use Internet at least once a week) increased by 3.2 % and reached 86.9 %.

The largest share of regular Internet users is in Riga (90 %), but the smallest – in Latgale (78.7 %). In age group 16-24 years old 97.9 % of young people use Internet once a week, in age group 25-54 years this indicator is 95.2 %, but in age group 55-74 years – 69.6 %.

Population use the Internet for various activities. Most popular of them are internet banking and sending/receiving e-mails, which is used by 85.9 % and 85.4 % of population, but online news sites/newspapers/news magazines are read by 81.7 % of population. Males more commonly play games online than females (26.3 % and 16.5 %, respectively), but females – search online for health-related topics more than males (63.3 % and 46.4 %, respectively). Searching for health-related topics shows the largest differences between urban and rural population – 59.2 % of urban population indicated that used Internet for such purpose, while share of such rural population is 46.8 %.

Most popular activities of 16-24 years old young people, compared to 2019, have not changed. They include participating in social networks, sending messages in texting apps and sending/receiving e-mails. Most popular activities of 65-74 years old seniors include reading online news sites/newspapers/news magazines, internet banking and sending/receiving e-mails.

79.3 % of Latvian population use smartphone for personal purposes. More than a half of them (55.2 %) have also security software installed on their smartphones along with operating system, for example, anti-virus, anti-spam software, firewall, but 8.2 % of them indicated that they have installed such kind of software themselves. 90 % of smartphone users indicated that they have not experienced loss of information, documents, pictures, or other data on the smartphone due to malicious software.

In 2020 for the first time questions of the use of Internet of Things was included in the survey. The results obtained show that Internet of Things, interchangeably connected devices, or systems that may be monitored or remotely controlled using the Internet, is an emerging technology in Latvia and currently is not widely used. Alarms, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, door locks or other security systems connected to the Internet were used by 4.3 % of population, virtual assistant as a type of smart speaker or application – by 4 % of population, while internet-connected devices regulating energy (thermostats, energy meters, lamps, switches), as well as internet-connected household appliances (refrigerators, stoves, coffee machines) – by 3.4 % of population.

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