The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the processes of digital transformation in all directions, and one of them is Internet connectivity, which has improved many times over. It is this detail that has helped many countries more easily withstand the crisis, especially the one in the health and economic system.
But what has consequently happened in the whole process is the raised scale of the digital transition itself, which clearly separates those who have lagged behind those who have adapted to the situation. Through the report, was presented by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and showed how fast and accessible the Internet is currently important. In short, more than ever before.
While some ISPs are recording traffic growth of up to 60 percent compared to the time before the pandemic, there has still been no transition in terms of supply. For example, the share of subscriptions to optics and fixed broadband internet connections in OECD countries like South Korea is at 82 percent, in Japan at 79 percent, but in developed countries such as Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, the UK, and Israel, it is below five percent. What is an additional problem is the fact that in rural areas there is often no stable, high-quality, and accessible offer of high-speed internet.
Also, OECD countries have about twice as many high-speed mobile subscriptions per capita and three times as many fixed broadband subscribers as non-OECD countries.
- Digital technologies have helped our economies and societies avoid complete dormancy during the corona crisis. They also allowed us to learn more about the virus, speed up the search for the vaccine, and help us monitor the development of the pandemic. The crisis has also made us more dependent on digital technologies and helped us recognize the differences in digital development in countries around the world. We are at a turning point in the digital transformation and the development of our economies and societies after the corona crisis will depend on the differences between digital development – said Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD.
It is true, the report states, that the digital transformation was rapidly carried out even before the corona crisis. This can also be seen in the consumption of data traffic on mobile devices. For example, from 2013 to 2019, mobile internet prices fell by 59 percent, and data traffic consumption quadrupled from 2015 to 2019. With the advent of 5G, which is available commercially in 22 OECD countries, this will increase further. As it increases throughout this year due to the crisis situation.
Furthermore, OECD economies in June 2019 had 113 high-speed mobile Internet subscriptions per hundred inhabitants, which is 32 more than a decade earlier. At the same time, non-OECD countries have 60 subscriptions per hundred inhabitants. Fixed internet subscribers have 32 subscriptions per hundred inhabitants in OECD countries, ie only nine in countries that are not part of it. Optics, on the other hand, is at 27 percent in OECD countries.
Likewise, 95 percent of adults in OECD countries use the Internet, and in non-OECD countries, 70 percent. E-Government services in OECD countries are up 58 percent as of 2019, up 15 percent from 2010. Also, before the pandemic, only a quarter of companies with more than ten employees used e-commerce, and a third used cloud services.
The future before us clearly indicates the need to use digital technologies at all levels, which means that for the purpose of global development it is very important to reduce the differences between developed and less developed countries and continue to improve infrastructure because there is still plenty of room.