At a European level, in 2022, Ireland ranks 5th in the EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Between 2017 and 2022, Ireland’s average yearly relative growth of its DESI score is approximately 8.5 per cent, one of the highest in the EU.
The Index reports that fixed, very high-capacity network (VHCN) coverage has increased from 83 per cent in 2021 to 89 per cent in 2022 after a low of 35 per cent in 2020. This compares to an EU average of 70 per cent. However, despite this, in terms of connectivity, the take up of at least 100Mbps fixed broadband is only 37 per cent compared to the EU average of 41 per cent.
Ireland performs above the EU average in advanced digital skills (for example, for the indicators on ICT specialists, female ICT specialists and ICT graduates) and there has been an increase in the basic digital skills of the population. Ireland’s use of the internet is broadly in line with the European average. Our use of the internet points to a society that is moving away from personal social interaction, towards virtual engagement with others. According to the DESI, Ireland scores a perfect 100 for digital public services for businesses.
National Broadband Plan Broadband, particularly for rural areas, is essential if Ireland is to keep pace with globalisation while also ensuring balanced rural development. If the change to working from home becomes permanent for many, location will no longer be an issue allowing many to relocate from expensive urban centres to more rural locations. Training and up-skilling will be vital in order to ensure access and protect users online as the digital world changes and evolves.