DIGITAL ECONOMY: What the European Commission’s Digital Economy Index Says About Croats’ Online Habits       

P031092000102-86303113 March 2017, VG Intelligence Weekly Issue 45

The European Commission recently published the results of its Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for 2017, a tool which assesses the performance of the 28 Member States in a wide range of areas from connectivity and digital skills to the digitalisation of businesses and public services. Specifically, it is comprised of five principal policy areas – connectivity (broadband), human capital (skills), use of internet (online communication and transactions), integration of digital technology (businesses) and digital public services (e-Government). In terms of where Croatia stands, in 2016, the country’s overall score was 0.42, which puts it in 24th place out of 28 Member States. The report states that Croatian citizens are above average users of the Internet and their digital skills are steadily progressing, while broadband access remains a central challenge.

Of the five categories, in terms of the EU average, Croatia lags the most in the area of connectivity (i.e. access to high-speed internet), which is seen as a crucial element to a country’s overall competitiveness. According to the report, although fixed broadband is available to 97% of households, infrastructure designed to provide high speed internet (at least 30 megabits per second) is available to only 52% of homes. While broadband subscription has gone up, only 2.8% of fixed Internet subscriptions are to high-speed connections (30% in the EU), the lowest in Europe. One of the possible reasons for this low number of subscribers might be affordability, since the standalone fixed broadband subscription in Croatia costs as much as 2.5% of the average monthly salary, more than the overall EU average of 1.3%…

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