BRUSSELS, 27 SEPT - Italy has made "significant" progress on infrastructure, but iseight the EU average "for skills and some aspects of the digitalization of public services". This is what emerges in the first report of the EU Commission on the digital decade. Italy's progress in digital skills "remains slow and contributes only modestly to the goal of the Digital Decade - he points out -. Only 46% of the population has basic digital skills. This undermines their ability to benefit from digital opportunities and exercise digital citizenship and negatively impacts Italy's inclusivity."
"The number of ICT graduates in Italy remains significantly below the ambitions for the EU Digital Decade, as the country is unable to meet companies' demand for qualified professionals. Although the educational offer is evolving and has been expanded by new flexible training offers focused on Stem disciplines, the share of ICT graduates remains at 1.5%, an insufficient value and significantly lower than the EU average of 4.2%. In addition, the percentage of women among ICT specialists is 16%, well below the EU average of 18.9%. Italy should step up its efforts on digital skills, in particular in upskilling and reskilling its workforce. In addition, it should introduce skills forecasts to meet labour market needs and improve cooperation, in particular with industry and civil society. Italy should increase the capacity of education systems to train more ICT specialists, taking advantage of PNRR funding". On infrastructure, as regards the Digital Decade target for the very high capacity fixed network, Italy still remains below the EU average (54% of households against 73% in the EU), despite a jump of 10 percentage points between 2021 and 2022. 5G coverage in 2021 and 93% of the harmonised spectrum was allocated as of 2023. In addition, 5G coverage was provided on the 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum band to 80% of households.
In the EU, the fiber networks needed to provide gigabit connectivity reach only 56% of homes, while 5G coverage reaches 81% of the population, falling to 51% in rural areas. The EU's 2030 targets are gigabit coverage available for all 5G networks in all populated areas. 55% of homes in rural areas are not covered by any advanced network and 9% by landline either. This is also what emerges in the report, which estimates at 200 billion euros to reach the goal of full gigabit coverage in the EU and 5G in all populated areas.
To facilitate the digitalisation of EU companies, according to the path envisaged for the Digital Decade, at least 75% of European companies should adopt cloud computing, big data and/or artificial intelligence services in their activities. More than 90% of SMEs should achieve at least a basic level of digital intensity (measuring the use of different digital technologies at company level). Without additional investment and incentives, the projected baseline trajectory indicates that by 2030 only 66% of companies will use the cloud, 34% big data and 20% artificial intelligence. Moreover, according to the latest available data, only 69% of EU SMEs reach a basic level of digital intensity, with uneven and insufficient progress across Member States. To improve technology uptake, Member States should raise public awareness of the benefits of digitising businesses, as well as promote and support European Digital Innovation Hubs. On public services, the aim of the Digital Decade is for 100% of key public services to be accessible online and for Union citizens and businesses to interact online with public administrations, online access to their electronic health records for 100% of Union citizens and access to ensure electronic identification (eID) for 100% of Union citizens. The EU's commitment is to increase the basic digital skills of at least 80% of the population aged 16-74 and to reach 20 million ICT specialists by 2030. However, the report shows that by 2030 and under current conditions, only 59% of the population will master at least basic digital skills and the number of ICT specialists cannot exceed 12 million.