Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Belgium

Article
Find here the most recent analysis and data by country. A selection of key documents and graphs are shown about topics such as broadband, internet activity and skills, egovernment, ICT in schools, research and innovation, as well as other main indicators.
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Broadband markets

At the end of 2013, fixed broadband covered 100% of homes in Belgium (97% in the EU). In rural areas, fixed broadband covered 100% of homes. At the same time, Next Generation Access capable of providing at least 30 Mbps download was available to 98% of homes (62% in the EU).

79% of the households had a broadband subscription at the end of 2013, higher than the EU average (76%) and 4 percentage points higher than at the end of 2012. The share of high speed connections (providing at least 30 Mbps) was considerably higher than EU average (66% compared to 21% in the EU). Ultra-fast connections (providing at least 100 Mbps) accounted for 12% of all subscriptions (5% in the EU).

On the mobile side, 4th generation (LTE) was available to 46% of population (compared to 8% in 2012). The take-up rate (subscription per 100 people) of mobile broadband was 46%, below the EU average of 62%.

Indicator (including breakdown and unit)

Belgium value

EU28 value

2012

2013

2013

Fixed broadband coverage - Total (in % of total population)

100

100

97

Rural fixed broadband coverage – Total (in % of rural population)

99

100

90

NGA broadband coverage - Total (in % of households)

97

98

62

Households with a broadband subscription - All households (in % of households)

75

79

76

Share of subscriptions with at least 30Mbps - (% of subscriptions)

58

66

21

Share of subscriptions with at least 100Mbps - (% of subscriptions)

12

12

5

4G Mobile broadband coverage - (as a % of total population)

8

46

59

Mobile broadband take-up - Total (in Subscriptions per 100 people)

40

46

62

Internet usage

In 2013, 80% of Belgians reported using the internet at least weekly (regular users), above the EU average of 72%. Belgium exhibited higher rates of daily use of the internet (frequent users), with 68% of the population reporting going online every day, compared to an EU average of 62%. In 2013, 15% of the population had still never used the internet, about the same as in 2012 and lower than the EU average of 20%.

Indicator (including breakdown and unit)

Belgium value

EU28 value

2012

2013

2013

Internet users going on-line weekly (Regular internet users - All individuals, in % of individuals)

78

80

72

Internet users on a daily basis (Frequent internet users - All individuals, in % of individuals)

65

68

62

Individuals who have never used the internet - All individuals (in % of individuals)

15

15

20

Digital skills

Results obtained from a newly developed Digital Skills Indicator[1]show that, in 2012, 43% of Belgians had low or no digital skills, compared to 47% for the EU average. Disadvantaged people (i.e. individuals who are aged 55-74, low educated and/or unemployed, retired or inactive) in Belgium are more highly digitally skilled than is average in the EU. Within the workforce, skills are higher; 34% of the workforce has low or no digital skills. On average in the EU, the figure is 39%. At 32% in 2012, figures for households without internet access reporting lack of skills as a reason for no access are lower than the EU average of 37%. According to a broad definition, the share of ICT specialists in total employment in Belgium was 3.7% in 2012; higher than the EU average of 2.8%.[2]

Indicator (including breakdown and unit)

Belgium value

EU28 value

2012

2013

2012

2013

Individuals with low or no digital skills (in % of individuals)

43

-

47

-

Disadvantaged people with low or no digital skills  (in % of disadvantaged people)

61

-

64

-

Labour force with low or no digital skills  (in % of labour force)

34

-

39

-

Households reporting lack of skills as a reason for having no Internet access (in % of households without internet access)

28

32

35

37

Persons Employed with ICT Specialist Skills (broad definition) - Total (in % of persons employed)

3.7

-

2.8

-

eCommerce

In 2013, 48% of Belgians had purchased goods or services online within the previous 12 months, which means that take-up of e-Commerce was above the EU average of 47%. Belgium exhibited much better rates of cross-border e-Commerce, with 28% of the population having bought online from other EU countries in the previous 12 months, compared to an EU average of 12%. In 2013, 46% of large enterprises were selling on-line, more than in 2012 and many more than the EU average of 35%. SMEs were significantly less active with only 20% of SMEs selling online, more than the EU average of 14%.                            

Indicator (including breakdown and unit)

Belgium value

EU28 value

 

2012

2013

2013

Ordering goods or services online - All individuals (in % of individuals)

45

48

47

Cross-border e-Commerce - All individuals (in % of individuals)

25

28

12

Enterprises selling online - Large enterprises (in % of enterprises)

45

46

35

Enterprises selling online - SMEs (10-249 persons employed) (in % of enterprises)

22

20

14

eGovernment

Download eGovernment country factsheets (pdf)

In 2013, 50% of Belgians made use of the internet for eGovernment services, the same as the 50% in 2012 and much above the EU average of 41%. 32% of citizens sent filled-in forms, significantly up from 29% in 2012, and much above the EU average. On the supply-side, the newly introduced User-centric eGovernment Indicator[3] was at 72 in 2012-2013, above the EU average of 70, and the Transparent eGovernment Indicator[4] was at 51, above the EU average of 49.

 

Indicator (including breakdown and unit)

Belgium

value

EU28

value

 

2012

2013

2013

Citizens' use of eGovernment services, last 12 months - All individuals (in % of individuals)

50

50

41

Citizens sending filled forms to eGov services, last 12 months - All individuals (in % of individuals)

29

32

21

User-centric eGovernment Indicator - ( 0-100 range)

72

70[5]

Transparent eGovernment Indicator - (0-100 range)

51

49[6]

eHealth

In 2013, 53% of Belgian hospitals had a broadband connection >50Mbps, well above the EU average of 36%. 92% of hospitals exchange clinical information with external healthcare providers or professionals, which is well above the EU average of 55%. For General Practitioners, the rate is 39%, much higher than the EU average of 28%. 10% of hospitals provide patients access to the totality or part of their medical records, which is higher than the EU average (9%).

Electronic storage of individual medical patient data - (in % of  GPs)

86

85

83

Indicator (including breakdown and unit) for acute[7] hospitals

Belgium value

EU28+2[8] value

2010

2013

2013

Broadband connection > 50Mbps (in % of  hospitals)

43

53

36

Exchange of clinical care information with external health care providers (in % of  hospitals)

91

92

55

Online access (partial or total) to electronic records by patients (in % of  hospitals)

13*

10

9

Indicator (including breakdown and unit) for General Practitioners (GPs)

2007

2013

EU28+3[9] value

Use of a computer during consultation with the patient (in % of  GPs)

76

97

97

Exchange of medical  patient data with  other health care providers or professionals (in % of  GPs)

13

39

28

European Hospital Survey - Benchmarking Deployment of eHealth services (2012-2013)

Benchmarking Deployment of eHealth among General Practitioners 2013 (SMART 2011/0033)

Research and Development (R&D) in ICT

In 2010, Business Expenditure in R&D (BERD) by the ICT sector in Belgium amounts to €681mn, up from €659mn the year before. BERD by the ICT sector represents 14% of total BERD, just below the EU average of 17%, indicating relatively less of a research focus on ICT Total BERD is 1.3% of GDP, just above the EU average of 1.2%. In 2012, Public funding in R&D (GBAORD) in the ICT sector amounts to €275mn representing 11.1% to total GBAORD, above the EU average of 6.6%.

Indicator

(including breakdown and unit)

Belgium value

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

ICT BERD – Million €

659

681

-

-

ICT BERD - % of Total BERD

14

14

-

-

Total BERD - % GDP

1.3

1.3

-

-

ICT GBAORD – Million €

244

263

269

275

ICT GBAORD - % of Total GBAORD

10.7

11.1

11.2

11.1

 

Indicator

(including breakdown and unit)

EU27/28 value

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

ICT BERD – Million €

25368

25993

-

-

ICT BERD - % of Total BERD

17

17

-

-

Total BERD - % GDP

1.2

1.2

-

-

ICT GBAORD – Million €

5958

6044

6118

5962

ICT GBAORD - % of Total GBAORD

6.5

6.5

6.6

6.6

Participation to the EU-funded Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) in ICT

Over the period 2007-2013[10] the EU co-funded projects in Belgium in the ICT domain (FP7 Cooperation ICT Theme and e-infrastructures within Capacities) for a cumulated total of €322 million. Overall 256 Belgian organisations participated in 647 projects (so represented in 27% of all projects) and coordinated 114 projects.

In 2013 participation from higher education/research organizations was at 67% of funding, slightly above the EU average (66%). Industrial participation was at 22%, below the EU average (29%), with 5% of total funding going to large enterprises and 17% to SMEs.

Participation (in terms of share of total funding) is higher in the following Strategic Objectives: Future Networks and Internet, Embedded Systems and Photonics.

Indicator    

Belgium value

EU28 value

2012

2013

2013

Participations

126

147

3,493

Total EU funding to FP7 ICT projects – All organisations (Million €)

52.01

52.61

1,350

 

 

 

 

N. of organisations

61

81

1,780

New entries – All organisations (% of organisations)

50%

37%

41%

N. of SME participations - Total

14

24

679

N. of SME participations - % of total participations

11%

16%

19%

Funding by organisation type - % of EU funding

SMEs

14%

17%

16%

Higher education/research organisations (HES/REC)

66%

67%

66%

Large enterprises

9%

5%

13%

Other organizations

11%

11%

4%

State of the electronic communications market and regulations

The report is covering in particular key market and regulatory developments in 2012 and 2013. It addresses issues such as economic indicators, competitiveness, market developments including roaming, regulations, broadband plans, authorisation, spectrum management, access and interconnection, consumer issues and net neutrality.

Read the full 2014 monitoring report (EU + 28 EU country chapters).


[1]  The Digital Skills Indicator is a composite indicator of digital skills based on the IPTS Digital Competence Framework and using data collected through the Eurostat survey on Internet use in households and by individuals. The indicator has been developed as part of the work towards action 62 of the Digital Agenda to propose EU-wide indicators of digital competence. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/dae/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=5406

[2] Broad definition taken from JRC (IPTS) "The evolution of EU ICT employment 2000-2012" Technical report (forthcoming): ISCO codes 25 and 35, plus ICT graduates in certain adjacent  ISCO codes.

[3] The User-Centric eGovernment Indicator is a composite indicator measuring the availability of eGovernment services, their connectedness and their user-friendliness for seven areas of government services through a user journey approach using the concept of life event (well defined user need).

[4] The Transparent eGovernment Indicator is a composite indicator measuring the online transparency of governments on the different aspects of online service delivery, treatment of citizens' personal data and activities of the public administrations. The indicator has been measured over seven areas of government services through a user journey approach using the concept of life event (well defined user need).

[5] The indicator is measured over a two-year period, figures refer to 2012-2013

[6] See note above

[7] Hospitals intended for short-term medical or surgical treatment and care

[8] Iceland and Norway

[9] Iceland, Norway and Turkey

*Figures are not fully comparable across years because of different sampling methodologies and questionnaires

[10] Data for the period 2007 – 2013 (it considers grants signed up to December 2013).

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