In June 2020, the European Commission published its latest report on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) that monitors Europe’s digital performance and tracks the progress of EU countries in digital competitiveness for economy and society.

The index provides data on the state of digitisation of each Member State, helping them to identify areas requiring priority investment and action. DESI covers five main indicators: connectivity, human capital, use of internet, integration of digital technology and digital public services.

Information on rural areas is only provided in the area report on Connectivity – Broadband market development in the EU. In this section, deployment of infrastructure in rural areas is specifically mentioned, namely looking at i) Very high capacity networks (VHCNs) and 5G, ii) Broadband coverage, and iii) Fixed broadband take-up. The lack of data covering rural areas, makes it difficult for policy-makers and rural actors to assess and identify the digital needs for the rural communities.