Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

United Kingdom

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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The United Kingdom has an overall score[1] of 0.55 and ranks 6th out of the 28 EU Member States. In the past year, the United Kingdom has progressed in Connectivity, with subscriptions to fast broadband increasing (28% in 2014 compared to 21% in 2013) and the minimum price of a basic broadband connection falling (people in the UK could pay as little as 0.85% of their income for a fixed broadband subscription, the best deal in the EU). Progress has also been made in digital public services (the UK went up five places in EU-wide ranking in the past year), with more internet users making active use of eGovernment services (37% of internet users in 2014 against 24% in 2013). Areas where progress is needed are deployment of fibre and increasing the numbers of trained ICT professionals (demand for skilled ICT professionals within the economy is rising rapidly, while the supply is not keeping pace as graduate numbers have fallen substantially since a decade ago) to fill the large and growing demand.

The United Kingdom falls into the cluster of medium‑performance[2] countries, where it performs above average.

 

DESIUnited KingdomClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 201560.550.510.47
DESI 201460.520.470.44

1. Connectivity

1 ConnectivityUnited KingdomClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 201560.680.60.55
DESI 201440.650.540.51

 

With an overall Connectivity score of 0.68, the United Kingdom ranks 6th among EU countries on this dimension of the DESI. While its score improved somewhat over 2014, its rank fell in comparison with other EU countries, from 4th in the previous year.

 

 United KingdomEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
1a1 Fixed BB Coverage
% households
100%
(2013)
 4100%
(2013)
497%
(2013)
1a2 Fixed BB Take-up
% households
82%
(2014)
 383%
(2013)
170%
(2014)
1b1 Mobile BB Take-up
Subscribers per 100 people
78
(2014)
 782
(2013)
567
(2014)
1b2 Spectrum
% of the target for spectrum to be harmonised at EU level
72%
(2014)
 1572%
(2013)
1470%
(2014)
1c1 NGA Coverage
% households, out of all households
82%
(2013)
 982%
(2013)
962%
(2013)
1c2 Subscriptions to Fast BB
% of subscriptions >= 30Mbps, out of fixed BB subscriptions
28%
(2014)
 1421%
(2013)
1622%
(2014)
1d1 Fixed BB Price
% individual gross income spent for the cheapest standalone Fixed Broadband subscription (lower values are better)
0.85%
(2014)
 11%
(2013)
41.3%
(2014)

 

The United Kingdom performs relatively well in terms of fixed broadband coverage and take-up, having 100% household coverage of fixed broadband and take up by households of 82%.

Take-up of mobile broadband at 78 out every 100 people is above the EU average, though the UK rank on this indictor fell somewhat over last year. Spectrum harmonisation is in line with the EU average.

NGA coverage in the United Kingdom, at 82% of households, is above the average for the EU (62%). Subscriptions to fast broadband (at least 30 Mbps) have seen a significant increase to 28% of total fixed broadband subscriptions, from 21% last year. Prices for fixed broadband in the UK are now the lowest in the EU, when measured as a proportion of income.

2. Human Capital

2 Human CapitalUnited KingdomClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 201540.720.570.54
DESI 201450.680.540.52

 

With a Human Capital score of 0.72, the United Kingdom ranks 4th among EU countries in this domain and has slightly improved its performance over the previous year. This score is well above the average score (0.57) for the cluster and for the EU (0.54).

 

 United KingdomEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
2a1 Internet Users
% individuals (aged 16-74)
89%
(2014)
 687%
(2013)
675%
(2014)
2a2 Basic Digital Skills
% individuals (aged 16-74)
73%
(2014)
 659%
(2012)
1159%
(2014)
2b1 ICT Specialists
% employed individuals
4.2%
(2013)
 34.2%
(2012)
32.8%
(2013)
2b2 STEM Graduates
Graduates in STEM per 1000 individuals (aged 20 to 29)
20
(2012)
 520
(2012)
517
(2012)

 

At 89%, the United Kingdom exhibits a high rate of internet use amongst its population. The digital skills of the population have also increased substantially over the past couple of years, with 73% of the population now having sufficient digital skills to operate effectively online.

While the proportion of ICT specialists in total employment, at 4.2%, is relatively high and the proportion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates is also above the average for the EU, the United Kingdom is lacking skilled ICT professionals. Demand for skilled ICT professionals within the economy is rising rapidly, while the supply is not keeping pace. In particular, graduate numbers have fallen substantially since a decade ago. More young people need to be attracted to ICT studies and jobs, which provide good career opportunities, are well paid and which are key skills for deriving the benefits of ICT for the economy and society.

3. Use of Internet

3 Use of InternetUnited KingdomClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015100.460.440.41
DESI 2014100.460.420.39

 

In terms of the propensity of individuals to use Internet services, the United Kingdom scores 0.46 (unchanged from last year) and ranks 10th among EU countries.

 

 United KingdomEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
3a1 News
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
65%
(2014)
 2365%
(2013)
2167%
(2014)
3a2 Music, Videos and Games
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
38%
(2014)
 2649%
(2012)
1649%
(2014)
3a3 Video on Demand
% households that have a TV
54%
(2013)
 754%
(2013)
739%
(2013)
3a4 IPTV
% households that have a TV
6%
(2013)
 186%
(2013)
1813%
(2013)
3b1 Video Calls
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
33%
(2014)
 2430%
(2013)
2237%
(2014)
3b2 Social Networks
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
65%
(2014)
 1165%
(2013)
958%
(2014)
3c1 Banking
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
62%
(2014)
 1160%
(2013)
1357%
(2014)
3c2 Shopping
% individuals who used Internet in the last year (aged 16-74)
85%
(2014)
 185%
(2013)
163%
(2014)

 

As mentioned above, most UK citizens are now online. By far the most popular activity online is shopping. 85% of UK internet users buy online. As such, the UK ranks first in terms of online shopping amongst Internet users. This position is unchanged over the last year. Social networking (65%), reading online news (65%) and online baking are also activities undertaken by the majority of internet users. While use of music, video and games online was similar to that of the EU average last year, this year the use of these services fell markedly. Use of IPTV is low (6% of households with a TV), but use of VoD (Video on Demand) is relatively widespread.

4. Integration of Digital Technology

4 Integration of Digital TechnologyUnited KingdomClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015170.310.370.33
DESI 2014160.320.340.3

 

In Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, the United Kingdom scores 0.31, its worst score among the five DESI 2015 dimensions. In particular, businesses in the United Kingdom could better exploit the possibilities offered by electronic information sharing and RFID.

 

 United KingdomEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
4a1 Electronic Information Sharing
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
12%
(2014)
 2711%
(2013)
2731%
(2014)
4a2 RFID
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
1.6%
(2014)
 270.5%
(2011)
283.8%
(2014)
4a3 Social Media
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
n.a. -28%
(2013)
214%
(2014)
4a4 eInvoices
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
11%
(2014)
 1011%
(2013)
1311%
(2014)
4a5 Cloud
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
15%
(2014)
 8n.a.-11%
(2014)
4b1 SMEs Selling Online
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
19%
(2014)
 818%
(2013)
815%
(2014)
4b2 eCommerce Turnover
% turnover of SMEs (no financial sector, 10-249 employees)
8.4%
(2014)
 138.6%
(2013)
88.8%
(2014)
4b3 Selling Online Cross-border
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
8.3%
(2013)
 128.3%
(2013)
126.5%
(2013)

 

A true digital economy is one where businesses take full advantage of the possibilities and benefits offered by digital technologies, both to improve their efficiency and productivity, as well as to reach customers and realise sales. Businesses in the United Kingdom are not fully taking advantage of these possibilities.

The adoption of digital technologies is an important driver of labour productivity growth and needs to be strengthened. The percentage of businesses using technologies such as electronic information sharing (ERP – 12%) and RFID (1.6%), are very low and the UK ranks second to last in the EU for these two indicators. In terms of eInvoices and Cloud take-up UK businesses perform similar to the EU average. However, take-up of Social Media, at 28% of enterprises, is advanced. Domestic eCommerce by SMEs is somewhat more widespread in the UK than in other EU countries. Turnover from eCommerce is at a similar rate to the EU average, as is the percentage of SMEs that sell online cross-border.

5. Digital Public Services

5 Digital Public ServicesUnited KingdomClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015110.490.490.47
DESI 2014160.390.450.45

 

Digital Public Services is the dimension where the United Kingdom has made significant progress. With a score of 0.49, the United Kingdom ranks 11th among EU countries, an improvement in both score (+0.1) and rank (+5) from the previous year. However, provision and use of some use of eGovernment/eHealth services can be improved.

 

 United KingdomEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
5a1 eGovernment Users
% individuals returning filled forms, out of Internet users in the last year (aged 16-74)
37%
(2014)
 1324%
(2013)
1633%
(2014)
5a2 Pre-filled Forms
Score (0 to 100)
8.6
(2014)
 2513
(2013)
2445
(2014)
5a3 Online Service Completion
Score (0 to 100)
77
(2014)
 1674
(2013)
1575
(2014)
5a4 Open Data
Score (0 to 700)
580
(2014)
 1n.a.-380
(2014)
5b1 Medical Data Exchange
% General Practitioners
53%
(2013)
 753%
(2013)
736%
(2013)
5b2 ePrescription
% General Practitioners
21%
(2013)
 1021%
(2013)
1027%
(2013)

 

Modern public services offered online in an efficient manner are a vehicle for efficiency gains for enterprises, citizens, and the public administration itself. While eGovernment use is somewhat above the EU average, as is online service completion[3], the sophistication of provisioned services could be improved: availability of pre-filled forms[4] is very low (8.6 out of 100), and where the UK ranks 25th out of 28 countries. Conversely the UK performs best in the EU with respect to Open Data.

In the domain of eHealth, more than half (53%) of General Practitioners in the UK use Medical Data Exchange. At 21% of General Practitioners, ePrescriptions are less widely used than is average in the EU (27%).

 


[1] DESI scores range from 0 to 1, the higher the score the better the country performance.

[2] In the DESI 2015, the medium-performance cluster of countries comprises Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

[3] The Online Service Completion indicator measures the extent to which the various steps in an interaction with the public administration – life event – can be performed completely online.

[4] The Pre-filled Forms indicator measures the extent to which data that is already known to the public administration is pre-filled in the forms that are presented to the user.

 

Figures from 2013

 Download the country profile for 2013 as a pdf

 Download country information for 2013 as a power point presentation

Last updated on 24/02/2015