Romania is still last in the EU in terms of digital development, despite progress

Romania ranks last in the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), despite being one of the countries that made some progress in catching up with the EU average.

Romania has an overall score of 0.35 and ranks 28th out of the 28 EU Member States. The country’s score improved from 0.32, in 2015, and 0.27, in 2014.

Romania has thus reduced the gap to Bulgaria and Greece, which are just ahead. However, it still has a lot of catching up to do to reach the EU average, which is 0.52.

“Relative to last year, more people subscribe to broadband networks also thanks to its good quality, but low levels of digital skills and trust seem to be holding back the development of its digital economy. The use of Internet increased mainly thanks to a higher participation in social networks,” the DESI report on Romania states.

“Romania’s businesses, on the other hand, need to better exploit the possibilities offered by social media, on-line commerce and cloud-based applications. The share of users interacting with public authorities increased but it is still the lowest in the EU,” the report points out.

Romania’s performs best on connectivity, for which it ranks 23rd in the EU. The fixed broadband internet networks are only available to 89% of the households, compared to an EU average of 97%, and only 60% of the local households are connected to fixed broadband internet. However, 72% of Romania’s households have access to fast broadband connections (of over 30Mbps), over the EU average of 71%, and 63% of all fixed internet subscriptions are for fast broadband, compared to an EU average of 30%, placing Romania second in the EU at this chapter.

“One of the reasons for the low take-up of broadband in Romania might be the subscription price. An individual seeking to subscribe to a broadband connection must spend on average 2.7% of her gross income, which is more than double the EU average of 1.3%,” according to the report.

Romania ranks second-to-last in the EU in terms of human capital, use of the internet, and digital public services, and last for the integration of digital technology by local companies.

The full report on Romania’s Digital Economy and Society is available here.

Capannelli, World Bank: Romania should close the broadband gap and reduce urban-rural disparities

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