EU notes Very High Ranking for Ireland in the Integration of Digital Technologies by Businesses
EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2017 – Ireland
3 March 2017
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Minister Denis Naughten T.D., welcomes today's publication of the European Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and is pleased to see that it places Ireland 8th in Europe across 28 Member States. He reiterated the Government's commitment to delivering the National Broadband Plan as a high priority which will support and stimulate commercial investment through policy and regulatory measures.
As pointed out by the European Commission, Ireland ranks very high when it comes to the integration of digital technologies by businesses, mostly because many SMEs have embraced e-commerce. This is in part due to the success of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme created by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and rolled out by the Local Enterprise Offices right across Ireland. The scheme has supported thousands of small Irish businesses with training and funds to transform their traditional business models and attract online customers both in Ireland and in export markets.
In recognition of the digital skills gap identified in the index, Minister Naughten secured new funding of €2.2 million in December 2016 for 15 community and not-for-profit organisations to improve basic digital skills for citizens. That funding aims to give people the confidence, motivation and skills to take their first steps online, so that they can play their part in an increasingly digital world. The Minister stated that he hopes to see the results of that initiative reflected in next year's DESI.
Ireland belongs to the cluster of high performing countries in the Index published today, "I welcome the fact that 94% of households in Ireland have access to 4G connectivity, a new indicator in the DESI. I am confident that the implementation this year of the Year 1 actions contained in the Report of Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce – as well as the Regulations that I have signed that allow ComReg to proceed with the allocation of spectrum in the 3.6GHz band this year – will mean that this time next year, that figure will be even higher. The DESI Index also provides evidence supporting the Government's National Broadband Plan, with internet users increasingly taking advantage of high-speed infrastructures and also making good use of online public services. I am confident Ireland will rank even higher in next year's rankings as a result of the rollout of the National Broadband Plan."
The level of subscriptions to fast broadband in Ireland at 60% is well ahead of the EU average of 37%. The National Broadband Plan will ensure that every premises in Ireland will have access to a high speed broadband of a minimum of 30 megabits per second download speed and 6 megabits per second upload speed, with the potential for up to 1,000 megabits.
Minister Naughten added, "The Government aims to deliver a "connected" economy and society where every consumer, company and community can realise the full social and economic potential of the digital world. The delivery of high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland under the Government's National Broadband Plan is a top policy priority for me. Greater connectivity will bring about greater social inclusion and economic growth, at local and national level."
Note for Editors:
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises relevant indicators on Europe's digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.