Catalonia has cemented its position as a digitally advanced and leading region within the European Union according to the indicators used on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), produced annually by the European Commission.
Catalonia ranks fifth among EU-28 countries for its level of digitisation. These results, based on a study that uses the parameters employed to produce the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2019, was presented today by the Catalan Minister for Digital Policy and Public Administration, Jordi Puigneró. Based on this methodology, Catalonia obtains a digitisation score of 62.47%, 10 percentage points above the European average.
At the presentation of the study, Minister Puigneró expressed his satisfaction with Catalonia’s results: “If we rank fifth among the most digitally advanced countries in Europe without being a state, imagine what we could do if we were an independent state with all of the tools and resources that implies.” Puigneró stressed that the results have been achieved thanks to digital policies implemented in recent years and the Catalan government’s commitment to projects such as the extension of a public fibre-optic cable network. At the same time, he said the study also indicates that there is room for improvement if Catalonia is to “remain at the forefront among Europe’s most digitally advanced countries”.
The report analyses 44 indicators, which are grouped into five dimensions: connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technology, and digital public services. Catalonia scores higher than the European average in all five areas.
Catalonia’s DESI 2019 digitisation score of 62.47% places the region ahead of countries such as the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Ireland and even Estonia, which is considered an e-state. Catalonia ranks higher than all but the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark), which have historically led digital development in Europe.
Leader in mobile coverage and fast broadband
In terms of connectivity, Catalonia is the leader in mobile broadband coverage and ranks second in implementation of fast broadband. The Catalan government is currently in the process of deploying a public fibre optic network to ensure fibre optic access throughout the region.
The study also highlights extensive use of digital public services. Catalonia ranks fifth with a score of 78.14% and is the leader in the use of electronic prescriptions and medical data exchange. It also takes the top position in digital public services for companies. However, the study indicates that there is room for improvement when it comes to open data.
In the human capital dimension, Catalonia is a leader in ICT graduates. In contrast, it ranks 18th for the number of ICT specialists and 14th for women ICT specialists.
With respect to use of internet services, Catalonia has the most regular internet users (97.2%) and the highest level of online shopping (91.5%). In contrast, it occupies the lowest position for online consumption of music, video and games (56.8%).
As for integration of digital technology by businesses, Catalonia ranks tenth with a score of 46.97%. In this section, Catalonia is strongly positioned in electronic exchange of information (54.4%) and the use of social networks (31.7%) but needs to ramp up action to promote advanced digital technologies such as big data and the use of e-commerce by SMEs.
About the DESI
In order to monitor Europe’s overall digital performance and track the progress of EU countries in digital competitiveness, the European Commission created the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a composite index that has become a benchmark in Europe for comparing the progress of different countries in the digital sphere.
This is the first time DESI results for Catalonia have been presented in accordance with the methodology of the European Commission, thanks to collaboration between the Catalan Ministry for Digital Policy, the Orkestra Basque Institute of Competitiveness of the University of Deusto, and the Technological Circle of Catalonia (CTecno). The study also had the support of the i2CAT Foundation and the collaboration of the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat).
The full DESI 2019 report for Catalonia is available here.