The 2017 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) shows that the EU is making progress but the gap between top digital players and lower-performing countries is still too wide. More efforts and investments are needed to make the most of the Digital Single Market.
Today the European Commission published the results of the 2017 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a tool presenting the performance of the 28 Member States in a wide range of areas, from connectivity and digital skills to the digitisation of businesses and public services.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Europe is gradually becoming more digital but many countries need to step up their efforts. All Member States should invest more to fully benefit from the Digital Single Market. We do not want a two-speed digital Europe. We should work together to make the EU a digital world leader.“
Overall the EU has progressed and improved its digital performance by 3 percentage points compared to last year, but progress could be faster and the picture varies across Member States (the digital gap – between the most and least digital countries – is 37 percentage points, compared to 36 percentage points in 2014). Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands lead the DESI this year followed by Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Ireland, Estonia, and Austria. The top-three EU digital players are also the global leaders, ahead of South Korea, Japan and the United States. Slovakia and Slovenia are the EU countries which have progressed the most. Despite some improvements, several Member States including Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, are still lagging behind in their digital development compared to the EU average. Individual country profiles are available online.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) shows:
Connectivity improved, but is still insufficient to address future needs.
- 76% of European homes can access high-speed broadband (at least 30 Mbps) and in some Member States a significant proportion of these households can already access networks capable of providing 100 Mbps or more. Over 25% of households have taken up a subscription to fast broadband.
- Mobile data subscriptions are increasing: from 58 subscribers per 100 people in 2013 to 84 in 2016.
- 4G mobile services cover 84% of the EU population.
However, this is not enough to address the growing needs for speed, quality and reliability of connections in the future. Internet traffic is growing by 20% annually; and by more than 40% each year on mobile networks. The European Parliament and Council are currently discussing Commission proposals to overhaul EU telecoms rules and to encourage investment in very high-capacity networks to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs, along with strategic objectives for a 2025 gigabit society.
Member States should also redouble their efforts to meet objectives in terms of harmonised spectrum assignment, which now includes the 700 MHz band, so that the next generation of communication networks (5G) can be widely deployed as of 2020. Spectrum coordination in the EU is vital to ensure wireless coverage and new cross-border services. Additionally, municipalities across Europe will be able soon to apply for funding to bring free Wi-Fi to their public spaces under the Commission’s WiFi4EU scheme.
Click here to read the full Press Release.
SOURCE: European Commission