The European Union’s annual report on digital societies has placed Finland in the pole position among member nations, thanks to its high rates of mobile broadband connectivity, digital skills, and e-government initiatives.
In general, Northern European countries dominate the top spots on the EU’s annual Digital Economy and Society Index, which was released today. After Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom top the list.
The Index measures factors such as broadband connectivity, human capital, use of internet, digital public services, and research to rank member nations. Overall, the report says the continent continues to make progress toward its digital transformation goals.
However, the authors also note that despite ambitious goals, the “largest EU economies are not digital frontrunners.”
Indeed, while Germany, France, and Italy rank first, third, and fourth, respectively, when it comes to GDP, the first two fall in the middle of the DESI pack. France was ranked 15th out of 28 member nations. Germany was 11th. And Italy is a woeful fifth from last.
“This year’s Digital Economy and Society Index demonstrates that the speed of digital transformation must accelerate for the EU to stay competitive at [a] world level,” said Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel in a statement. “In order to succeed, we have to continue to work together for an inclusive digital economy and ensure unimpeded access to digital skills for all EU citizens in order to truly thrive and build a more digital Europe.”
Here is the full ranking:
This compares to last year:
Here is an upbeat jazzy video that sums it up:
So what is Finland doing right? The report says Finland ranks low on fixed broadband use, but its mobile broadband use is far and away the highest in Europe, almost twice the EU average.
It also cites Finland’s human capital, noting that 76% of the population have basic or above basic digital skills, well above the 57% EU average.
And Finland is ranked first in digital public services, thanks to its widespread adoption of open data and digital health care services.
This, combined with a solid tech startup ecosystem, made Finland number one for the first time in the history of these rankings. Given that the country has been recovering from the crumbling of Nokia several years ago, it’s an impressive accomplishment.