This year, we celebrate the 50th World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, marking the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris. One of the main pillars of the ITU is setting international standards for information and communication technologies (ICT). Thus, the focus of the day is on the topic: Bridging the Standardization Gap.
For the development of the digital society, a prerequisite is the appropriate infrastructure – fast Internet connections, developed ICT sector that produces ICT and provides ICT services, ICT specialists, etc. How digital is Slovenia and what progress have we made in the infrastructure and in the usage of ICT in the last ten years?
Infrastructure for the development of digital society: access to the Internet, the ICT sector, ICT specialists
More than a third of all broadband Internet connections are optical fibre access connections
A review of broadband Internet connections shows that their number increased by 38% in the period from the 4th quarter of 2009 to the 4th quarter of 2018. In the 4th quarter of 2009 there were 442,623 broadband Internet connections in Slovenia; xDSL connections predominated (63%), 12% were optical fibre access connections. In the 4th quarter of 2018 there were 612,737 broadband Internet connections; optical fibre access connections predominated (36%), xDSL connections followed with 33%.
In 2018, 87% of households with at least one member aged 16–74 years had access to the Internet from home (in EU-28: 89%) and ten years ago, in 2009, 64% (in EU-28: 66%).
The majority of enterprises with at least 10 persons employed had in 2018 contracted speeds of the fixed broadband Internet connections at least 30 Mbit/s (41%), 19% at least 100 Mbit/s.
The share of ICT sector enterprises doubled among all enterprises active predominantly in market activities
An advanced ICT sector is important for the manufacturing of ICT, the development of software solutions, the provision of ICT maintenance and education in the ICT usage. In 2017, 8,125 enterprises that comprised the ICT sector manufactured ICT or provided various ICT services, e.g. access to the Internet or mobile telephone networks, developed software. Their number increased by 154% in the period of ten years (in 2016 the ICT sector comprised of 3,205 enterprises). Enterprises of the ICT sector represented 6% of all enterprises active predominantly in market activities (3% in 2006).
In 2017, enterprises in the ICT sector generated around EUR 1,377 million of value added.
In 2017, 6% of all high-growth enterprises in the country were in the ICT sector (i.e. enterprises with an average annual growth higher than 10% over a three-year period and at least 10 employees in the first year of monitoring of three-year growth of employment). The growth is measured with number of employees.
ICT is developed, maintained by ICT specialists. In 2018, there were around 38,900 ICT specialists employed in Slovenia. 20% of enterprises with at least 10 persons employed employed ICT specialists.
A tenth of investments in fixed assets dedicated to investments in ICT
In 2017, the value of all investments in information-communication technologies (ICT) was around EUR 543 million, which represented 10.9% of all investments in fixed assets in this year. In 2008 investments in ICT represented 8.9% of all investments in fixed assets. In 2008 predominated among all investment in ICT investments in computers and peripheral equipment (36%) and in 2017 investments in software (40%) (in 2008: 32%). In addition, 30% of all ICT investments in 2017 were dedicated to investments in computers and peripheral equipment and the same share in investments in communication equipment and consumer electronics.
Cloud computing services enable enterprises access to ICT without major costs for setting their own server, payment of licence for the usage of software, etc. In 2018 more than a quarter of enterprises with at least 10 persons employed (26%) purchased these kinds of services.
Internet usage: by age and purpose
The share of 16–74-year-olds that never used the Internet was halved in the period of ten years
For a developed digital society, a high degree of use of the Internet in all age groups is also important. In the first quarter of 2018, 80% of 16–74-year-olds regularly used the Internet (in the last three months before interviewing) (in EU-28: 85%). In the same period of 2009, 62% (in EU-28: 65%). In the last ten years regular usage increased especially among elderly persons. According to the latest data, 47% of 65–74-year-olds use the Internet regularly; in the first quarter of 2009 8%. The share of 16–74-year-olds who never used the Internet also decreased: 33% in 2009 (in EU-28: 30%) and 16% in 2018 (in EU-28: 11%).
Telephoning, e-banking and watching films and series over the Internet
The Internet is indispensable in everyday life. We use it to obtain information, for communication and for listening to music and watching various video contents. In the first quarter of 2018, 80% of 16–74-year-olds regularly used the Internet; they accessed it most often via smartphone (85%). Half of regular internet users telephoned or video-called over the Internet (in EU-28: 49%), 53% used Internet banking (in EU-28: 64%) and 30% saved personal documents, pictures or other files in the cloud, used storage space on the Internet (e.g. Dropbox, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive) (in EU-28: 37%).
64% of regular Internet users listened to the music via web radio, YouTube or streamed music, e.g. Deezer, Apple Music (in EU-28: 56%). The Internet enables viewing of popular movies or series via web platforms such as Netflix, HBO GO, Voyo. This option for watching videos on demand was used by 16% of regular Internet users (in EU-28: 31%). 71% watched video content on YouTube or other website for sharing video content (in EU-28: 62%).
More than half of 16–74-year-olds who had to submit official forms submitted them in electronic form
An important indicator of the digitization of the society is the development of e-government services. Its purpose is to be a friendly and efficient public administration, with as little bureaucracy as possible and with the possibility of carrying out procedures via the Internet. In 2018, 54% of 16–74-year-olds used the websites of public authorities in the period of the last 12 months (before the interviewing). 49% searched for information on public authorities’ websites, 28% obtained or downloaded forms and 19% filled out electronic form.
From all 16–74-year-olds who answered that they had to submit in 2018 official form in the period of the last 12 months (before interviewing) 56% submitted completed forms via the Internet. 44% of 16–74-year-olds did not submit completed forms via the Internet due to the following reasons (they could state more reasons): 33% answered that there was no such online service available, 18% had concerns about protection and security of personal data, 11% answered that they did not have necessary skills or knowledge, 7% that another person did it on their behalf and 38% stated other reasons why they did not submit official forms in electronic form.