The recently published OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2017 examines the developments, challenges as well as social and economic implications of the digital transformation. As a main result, progress attached to digital innovations is spread unevenly across countries and within societies. Government policies should invest more in digital education and promote greater use of technologies, such as big data analyses or cloud computing, to keep up with this transformation. For this report, data on the digital economies of 35 OECD countries was analyzed.
These are the central results:
- The OECD average share of adults accessing the Internet increased from 56 percent in 2005 to 83 percent in 2016. In Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg and Norway 97 percent or more of the population used the Internet – compared to 60 percent or less in Mexico and Turkey.
- In terms of digital infrastructure, the average share of fiber in fixed broadband networks across the OECD area is low at 21 percent. Respective shares range from 2 percent or less in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Israel to up to 75 percent in Korea and Japan.
- Overall, access to the Internet is growing, average speeds are faster and prices are falling. Mobile data usage via applications for messaging, video streaming and more, as a key driver of the digital economy is growing much faster in some countries than others. Finland and Latvia pull far ahead of the other OECD countries.
- Governments are advised to work together in order to tackle digital security and privacy risks in the light of increasing concerns about data breaches and security incidents. Otherwise, the uptake of digital services may be held up.
Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, noted on this: “The digital transformation is not happening at the same pace across countries, companies and households, and this translates into unequal opportunities. We must empower our citizens for the digital world by providing everyone with affordable access to digital tools and the skills to use them fully."