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Caspian Energy Journal Caspian European Club
Sunday, 29 May 2016 16:00

Commission reports unequal progress towards the Digital Single Market

The European Commission has released a report on digital progress in the EU (Europe's Digital Progress Report/EDPR). According to the report, Member States are at very different stages in the development of the digital economy; some, for example, such as the Nordic countries, are among the most advanced in the world, whilst other still have a lot of catching up to do, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to the press statement of the European Commission.

The Europe's Digital Progress Report says that 22% of European homes subscribe to fast broadband access of at least 30 Mbps, more than seven times higher than in 2010. Belgium, the Netherlands and Malta are the leaders in Europe in fast broadband take-up, while Croatia, Greece, Italy and Cyprus are at the bottom of the list.

Coverage of fast broadband technologies (Next Generation Access - NGA) reached 71% of homes. However it mainly reaches urban areas, as only 28% of rural homes have fast broadband. Malta, Belgium, The Netherlands and Lithuania are the best with at least 95% coverage, while Greece, Italy and France are below 50%.

Only 8% of European homes subscribe to ultrafast broadband (at least 100Mbps), as opposed to the target of 50% by 2020. Romania, Sweden and Latvia are the most advanced in ultrafast broadband adoption.

While price remain the most important factor for 79% of customers subscribing to communications services, quality of service has become almost as important for them – for 70% as analysed in the eCommunications report.

Mobile internet access increased significantly with 69% of households now having at least one member with a mobile internet access, a +21 points increase over 2014.

According to the EDPR, the majority of people in the EU (76%) now use the internet regularly and only 16% have never gone online. In some countries, like Bulgaria and Romania, as much as half of the population are still digitally excluded. 45% of people in the EU do not have basic digital skills. ICT professional skills are also lacking in many countries, employment of ICT professionals has grown by over 4% a year over the past decade while ICT graduate numbers have fallen by 40%.

In its first two years of implementation, Horizon 2020 has allocated € 2.4 billion of Union funding to 850 projects in the field of ICT, attracting 3,312 organisations. In H2020 the enterprise sector shows an increased participation compared to FP7, representing 42% of participations and 38% of budget, with 21% of budget going to SMEs.

In absolute terms, Germany and the United Kingdom are the biggest recipient of EU funding, but Greece and Slovenia are the countries with the highest funding in relation to the size of their ICT sector.

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Jeyhun Bayramov - Person responsible for news release

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