EU Scoreboard: Annual digital progress rankings

[news release] Europeans have basic digital networks and services, but are missing out on the main current and future benefits of the digital revolution, because of problems in Europe’s telecoms and wider digital markets, according to the Commission’s annual Digital Agenda Scoreboard published today. The Commission will later this year adopt proposals for concrete measures in response to a European Council request to create a Single Telecoms Market, in order to address the problems confirmed in today’s data.Neelie Kroes said: “I am glad that basic internet is now virtually everywhere in the EU, but we can’t get stuck playing yesterday’s game. The data shows that the biggest problem this year is the lack of investment in very fast networks, and a continuing lack of a real telecoms single market. The problem is clear and our response via a single telecoms market package will be too.”Key findings in the European Commission’s Digital Agenda (DAE) Scoreboard include:Internet progress:

  • Basic Broadband is now virtually everywhere in Europe – satellite performance has improved, helping to cover the 4.5% of population not covered by fixed basic broadband. The Commission is now focused on getting better take-up of satellite where this can bridge remaining gaps.
  • Fast broadband now reaches half the population – 54% of EU citizens have broadband available at speeds greater than 30 Mbps.
  • Internet access is increasingly going mobile – 36% of EU citizens access the internet via a portable computer or other mobile device (access via mobile phone is up from 7% in 2008 to 27% in 2012). 4th generation mobile (LTE) coverage tripled to 26% in one year.

Problem areas:

  • Only 2% of homes have ultrafast broadband subscriptions (above 100 Mbps), far from the EU’s 2020 target of 50%.
  • 50% EU citizens have no or low computer skills – neither the amount nor the level of ICT user skills has improved over the last year. 40% of companies recruiting or trying to recruit IT specialists have difficulties in doing so and the current number of vacancies for ICT specialists has been projected to grow to 900 000 by 2015. The recently launched Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs will target actions toward closing this gap.

Other findings:

  • More and more have tried internet – the proportion of EU citizens having never used the internet is continuing its steady decline (down 2 percentage points to 22%). However around 100 million EU citizens have still never used the internet, declaring too high costs, lack of interest, or lack of skills as the main barriers.
  • 70% now use the internet regularly at least once a week, up from 67% last year; 54% of disadvantaged people use the internet regularly, up from 51% last year.
  • Roaming prices in 2012 have fallen – by almost 5 euro-cents, mainly after the 1st July 2012 Roaming regulation.
  • eCommerce is growing steadily, but not cross-border – 45 % of individuals use the internet to buy goods and services, a moderate increase from 43% one year ago; very few buy across borders.
  • eGovernment is now undertaken by most firms and citizens – 87% of enterprises use eGovernment and the proportion of citizens using eGovernment has also increased over the last year to 44% (both up by 3 percentage points).
  • Research spending increased slightly despite budgetary restraints. Public R&D investment in ICT increased by 1.8% or €122 million to €6.9 billon; private R&D investment in ICT also increased, but the growth of 2.7% was not enough to recover last year’s decrease.

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