Romania last in the EU on internet penetration, despite top internet speeds

Georgeta Gheorghe 31/10/2017 | 11:59

Romania came last among European Union countries when in terms of internet use and penetration in a ranking made by the European Commission, but the country has a great potential for development in this field, a PwC report says. 

Romania’s DESI- Digital Economic and Society Index placed Romania on the 28th spot, despite the country boasting some of the fastest internet speeds in the world and a great number of IT specialists.

“We as Romanians like to take pride in the exceptional speeds of our broadband services, with the quality of our IT specialists, which are very sought after by the bg players in the field of technology, with the inventions and the IT apps launched in Romania. But at a statistics level, the performance of our country in what regards the digitalisation is rather modest. We still have a lot to do to truly benefit from the fourth revolution, the digital one, and the PwC analysis came with a series of recommendations to value to the maximum the potential of the country,” Ionut Simion, country managing partner, PwC Romania, the study coordinator.

Although Romania’s performances are exceptional in what regards subscriptions to the high speed broadband services (2nd in the EU) and with regards to the cost of broadband services (10th spot), our country is ranked 22nd of ouf 28th member states in what regards connectivity, and has a lot to catch up in what regards the coverage of mobile 4G services.

In what regards internet penetration, Romania is ranked last in the EU. Although social networks and video calls are being used more, Romanians are still wary of using online banking services. Thus, only 12 percent of the country population makes online purchases and 90 percent of the volume of orders places online were paid in cash.

Overall, Romania is lagging behind in terms of integrating the digital technology in he business sector, although there is progress. Thus, the share of Romanian companies using social networks increased to 80 percent. However, only 7 percent of the SMEs sell their products on online platforms, with online sales representing only 4.3 percent of the turnover of these companies. In Romania however, only 7 percent of the total sales volume is made online, less than half the EU average of 16 percent.

Also in terms of the human capital, Romania is ranked last in the EU, but has shown progress compared to last year, in particular in what regards the number of people who access the online environment (56 percent), the level of digital competencies and the number of experts in the IT&C sector (1.9 percent).

“It must be said that Romania benefits from a large number of graduates in the fields of science, technology, mathematics and engineering, 1.6 percent of Romanians aged 20 to 29 having this type of specialisations. Although the number is lower than in the past years, it is close to the EU average. That is why, we are still talking about a pretty large number of experts in the fields of science and technology, which represents a competitive advantage of Romania in attracting investments in the IT&C sector,” Andreeea Mitrita, director of fiscal consultancy, and a co-author of the study said.

Romania is also ranks last in terms of the offer of digital services offered by the public sector. However, in the past year, there was progress compared to last year [..] Moreover, Romania improved in the field of promoting the ‘open data’ policies.

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