Romania has an overall score of 0.35 and ranks 28th out of the 28 EU member states in the Digital Economy and Society Index 2016. More people have subscribed to broadband networks compared to last year, 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. 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 has increased but it is still the lowest in the EU.
However, Romania was placed in the cluster of the “Catching up countries,” which is the category of countries that score below the EU average but whose score grew faster than that of the EU over the last year.
These countries are developing faster than the EU as a whole and are thus catching up with the EU average.
Other countries in this cluster are Spain, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia.
Romania was part of the countries that have improved the most from 2015 to 2016 (from 0.32 to 0.35), along with Croatia (from 0.37 to 0.42) and Portugal (from 0.49 to 0.53).
Connectivity is the DESI 2016 dimension where Romania performs best. With an overall Connectivity score of 0.5 (up from 0.47) Romania ranks 23rd among EU countries.
According to the report, Romania faces two main challenges in connectivity. Firstly, it needs to improve the coverage of fixed broadband networks, which are currently reaching only 89 percent of households, significantly below the EU average of 97 percent. Secondly, it needs to increase the number of broadband subscribers: only 60 percent of households subscribe to fixed broadband (the EU average being 72 percent) and 59 subscribers per 100 people subscribe to mobile broadband (EU average is 75). According to the report, this is limiting Romania’s ability to exploit the benefits of the digital economy.
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 connection6 must spend on average 2.7 percent of her gross income, which is more than double the EU average of 1.3 percent.
In terms of the propensity of individuals to use Internet services, Romania scores 0.34 (up from 0.31) and ranks 27th among EU countries.
Despite some progress, in Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Romania scores 0.2, its lowest score and falling to the last position in the EU.
For digital public services, Romania scores 0.33 (up from 0.27 last year) and improved its ranking to the 27th position.