Malta lagging behind on making government data available online
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In the Digital Economy and Society Index 2016 (DESI 2016) published by the European Commission, Malta has been placed 11th out of the 28 EU Member States.
Malta’s score is above the EU average and its performance is equivalent to that of countries which have developed faster than the EU during last year. The Malta Information Technology Agency said that, “nonetheless, Malta is still lagging behind when it comes to making government data available online and the take up of mobile broadband.”
The report emphasises Malta’s connectivity, which is higher than the EU average and is the 9th best among the EU countries. Maltese households are covered by fixed broadband which provides access to fast broadband of at least 30 Mbps.
The report also shows that the take up of these services is well above EU average and the majority of users have already chosen fast broadband services. On a negative note, the take up of mobile broadband is still below EU average, although 4G services are available to the majority of the population.
According to the DESI report, Malta still needs to encourage citizens to make use of the internet. Although there has been a 4% increase in regular users since last year, the report reveals that there are still 22% of the Maltese population who have never used the internet.
The report also remarks that only 52% of the users have at least basic digital skills and our country ranks in the 18th place when comes to STEM (Science, Technology and Mathematics) graduates.
Malta’s ranking in the usage of internet services was the 11th from the 28 countries. MITA said the data show that most of the Maltese users engage in reading online news, listen to music, watch films and play online games. They also use internet for voice or video calls and for social media.
Malta’s engagement in these activities is higher than the EU average. The same applies to the use of online banking and shopping.
The Commission’s report also remarks about the low exploitation of Electronic Information Sharing, eInvoices and eCommerce of SMEs by the local businesses. It states that in a true digital economy, businesses should take full advantage of these possibilities and benefits, to improve their efficiency and productivity, as well as to reach customers and realise sales.
On a positive note, the Commission recognises that 26% of enterprises use social media and the percentage of SMEs selling online to other EU member states is also high.
As for the Digital Public Services, MITA said that he report shows that Malta ranks above the EU average. However, the Commission expresses its disappointment towards the number of eGovernment users. The percentage of 28% puts Malta in the 18th position.
The Commission is satisfied with the electronic services offered, MITA said, but it is disappointed by the lack of use from citizens. In fact, it remarks about the low engagement of only 28% of internet users who are engaging with public authorities online. It also comments about Malta’s lack in making government data available.