Desi 2022, Italy excels (only) in broadband and technological integration

Desi 2022 brings some good news, especially e.gr infrastructure and integration of digital technologies in companies. Two points where we finally exceed the European average in this ranking compiled, as every year, by the EU Commission.

In general, it is the first time that there has been an improvement in the position of Italy, which rises to eighteenth place out of the twenty-seven countries of the European Union. In the first editions the scoreboard was also called the “board of shame” and Italy was constantly sailing in the back places and still in 2017 it was in 25th place ahead of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, a critical situation for the third largest economy of the European Union , with a negative impact on overall EU indicators.

Desi 2022: Italy’s first real leap forward, but fragile

The path towards the integration of digital technologies and infrastructures

Compared to 2017, when Italy lagged behind the EU average in all components of the DESI Index, today there are two components for which we are above average.

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Integration of technologies in the company

In the’integration of digital technologies, Italian companies have been able to start an innovation process that sees them in eighth place in the ranking, well ahead of Spain (11th), Germany (16th) and France (20th). However, Finland, Denmark and Sweden are in the top three. The positioning is better especially for the use of cloud services, where we are ahead of the major European countries, while the situation is more heterogeneous for the use of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, but also e-commerce.

However, this situation should be compared with the level of digitization of micro and small enterprises, which continue to play a fundamental role in our productive fabric. Unfortunately, the information bases are essentially absent, but the behavior of these companies certainly suffers from a level of digital literacy that is that of the average Italian population and is still largely insufficient.

Ultra wide band

At the same time, and in terms of its process infrastructure Italy moved up in the rankings seventh position. In this case, however, the rest of the key countries did not stand still and Spain is in third place, followed by Germany and France. The lead is Denmark, followed by the Netherlands, countries that clearly benefit from much less complexity in the intervention. The level of 5G coverage (99.7%) in Italy is impressive, but the data is distorted for all countries by the fact that Non Stand Alone 5G is also taken into account.

The coverage of fast broadband (at least 30 Mbit / s in download, in fact we are Fttc connections mainly with average speeds around 100 megabit) is 97% in Italy, while VHCN coverage (very high capacity network, essentially fiber to the home in the case of Italy) increased by 10 points percentages up to 44%, but we are still in the last places.

The government’s 2026 gigabit plan has what it takes to make up for this lag in the coming years. If not in 2026, not too late.

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It should be taken into account that the burden of public intervention varies in coverage, but in reality the position of countries is mainly a result of private investment and competitive dynamics. Italy is proof of this and the indirect effect of public measures (to stimulate competition and private infrastructure) exceeds the direct effect (public infrastructure).

The public 1 Giga and 5G plans will follow the indirect intervention model and essentially offer a unique opportunity to reach the top of the rankings in 2026.

Desi, weaknesses

Turning instead to the painful notes, the aspect that remains the most critical is that of human resource, which takes a long time to reverse. Italy remain in the rearguard positions in 25th place, ahead of only Bulgaria and Romania. It certainly cannot console the rankings of Spain (10th), France (12th) and Germany (16th). The situation is in fact critical for all the variables examined, with last place in advanced skills (27th) as well as basic digital skills, if it is true that still only 54% of European citizens have only basic skills, this price drops to 46% for Italy. It is difficult to imagine a real qualitative leap in digital transformation processes without skills sufficient.

It should be noted that human capital – less than half of Italians have basic digital skills – can also affect the broadband adoption rate, potentially creating a large gap between coverage and withdrawal. We are already fourth in Europe in terms of broadband adoption (percentage of households with a subscription).

as for the digital public services, the position is slightly better and Italy appears in nineteenth place, but behind Spain (5th), France (15th) and Germany (18th). The most lacking aspect is the use by citizens (25th), which of course depends on the quality of the services offered, while regarding the availability of Open Data, Italy rises to seventh place. In fact, for many of the variables examined, the size of the country significantly affects the achievement of high levels of digitization. At least, however, we have increased by 10 points (albeit only 40%) in the adoption of public services in one year, and the Commission praises the progress of App IO, Pago Pa, Anpr.

Lights and shadows for future perspectives

Looking to the future, the hope is that the vast resources provided by the PNRR (Italy is the European country that has allocated the highest percentage to digital technology) can practically guarantee a definitive leap in quality.

The prerequisites are certainly there in terms of connectivity and digital public services, while it is not clear how we can unlock the state of digital skills without a more decisive intervention and waiting for generational change.

Finally, regarding the integration of digital technologies, the real The challenge concerns the participation of very small and small enterprises, which are not yet subject to special measures.

PREDICTION ANALYSIS: because facility maintenance has changed. Forever.

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