Money made from Web sites is expected to skyrocket in the years ahead, reaching 8.3 billion euros ($10.8 billion) by 2010, the European Union said Thursday.
The European Commission said it expected to see a fivefold growth rate in online content in Europe over the next five years, particularly in music and video game downloads.
Vivian Reding, the EU commissioner in charge of telecommunications, said increased use of the Internet is “creating great opportunities for Europe’s consumers, content providers and technology industries.”
She said, however, that the 27-nation bloc would need a new “modernized” approach to make sure consumers get better, cheaper and faster access to the Internet. An EU study out Thursday found Europe behind the United States, Japan and South Korea in providing high-speed broadband services.
Reding said she would present new proposals in the months ahead, including new digital-rights rules to better protect online content across Europe.
The EU is currently assessing new regulations needed to do away with roadblocks to ensuring a single market for purchases made online within the 27-nation bloc.
The EU prediction of the online boom reflects recent statistics from European retailers, who announced earlier this month that online sales increased by more than 30 percent from a year ago.