Hungary Strong in Broadband Connectivity, Lags Behind in Digital Integration

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Hungary is a strong performer in the European Union in broadband connectivity but needs to catch up in integrating digital technology in the public and private sectors, an annual gauge of member states' progress in digitalization by the European Commission shows.

According to a report by state news wire MTI, Hungary scored an overall 43.8 in the EC's Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2022, under the 52.3 average score for the EU-27, putting the country in 22nd place in the ranking.

In the "human capital" component of the index, Hungary scored 38.4, compared to an EU average of 45.7, and ranked 23rd. The DESI 2022 country report for Hungary noted that 49% of Hungarians have at least basic digital skills, but pointed to a "relatively low" share of the workforce represented by ICT specialists: 3.9% versus an EU average of 4.5%.

Hungary scored 57.6 for the "connectivity" component, close to the 59.9 EU average, putting the country in 13th place. Hungary made "substantial progress" towards achieving 2030 Digital Decade connectivity targets in 2021, the country report said, as coverage of very high capacity networks rose 30 percentage points to 79%, while fast broadband coverage increased eight percentage points to 97%.

Hungary's score was 21.6 for the "integration of digital technology" component of the DESI, under the 36.1 EU average, placing the country 25th.

"Despite an increase in several indicators in this domain, most Hungarian enterprises still fail to capitalize on digital technology," the country report said. Just 21% of businesses have an enterprise resource planning system for electronic information sharing, and only 13% send electronic invoices or use at least two social media channels, "well below" the EU average, it added.

The score for Hungary for the "digital public services" DESI component was 57.4, under the 67.3 EU average and putting the country in 21st place.

The country report acknowledged a marked increase in the share of e-government users - rising to 81% of internet users in 2021 from 64% in 2019, well over the 65% EU average - but said Hungary scores below average for the supply of online services, including pre-filled forms as well as digital public services for citizens and businesses.

The report said more than 3,000 public services were available in Hungary at the end of 2021, almost twice as many as a year earlier, and noted that the use of online administration has been mandatory for businesses since 2018.

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