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Digital Economy


Mobile broadband subscriptions top 1 billion in the OECD area

Mobile broadband penetration has risen to 85.4% in the OECD area, with more than four wireless subscriptions for every five inhabitants. The addition of 124 million new mobile broadband subscriptions in the OECD area generated a year-on-year rise of 13%, driven by growth in smartphone and tablets, and lifted the OECD total above the one billion mark to 1.083 billion subscriptions.

Comprehensive data, charts and broadband penetration maps for a range of countries are available at the OECD Broadband Portal.


How will increased use of ICTs affect jobs and skills?

Production of ICT products and services requires skills to programme, develop applications and manage networks. Workers also need to acquire generic ICT skills to be able to use such technologies, with the use of ICTs changing the way work is carried out and raising the demand for complementary skills. A new blog from OECD's Vincenzo Spiezia highlights how increasing use of ICTs is raising demand for new skills.

Ministers and other stakeholders will discuss this important issue at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy: Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity, 22-23 June 2016, in Cancun, Mexico. @OECDInnovation #OECDDigitalMX


Ensuring competition in mobile telephony

This month the Economist examined concerns that a reduction in the number of mobile operators in the UK could lead to higher prices for consumers and businesses. Work undertaken by the OECD has underlined the benefits of more competitive markets and shows that the smallest operator usually works as the disrupter and innovator.  

In the rapidly evolving world of the “Internet of Things”, companies that innovate will be more important than ever. In the words of STI’s Sam Paltridge, in this particular case, "four’s company and three’s a crowd." 

Industry and Globalisation


High-level symposium on excess capacity and structural adjustment in the steel sector

Reduction of excess capacity is one of the main challenges facing the global steel sector today. Given its growing magnitude and the impact it is having on the industry’s economic viability, governments are considering how various policy interventions are playing a role in creating or sustaining excess capacity, as well as policies aimed at easing the situation. The OECD is co-organising with the Belgian Ministries of Economic and Foreign Affairs a High-Level Symposium on Excess Capacity and Structural Adjustment in the Steel Sector on 18 April to discuss a number of policy commitments aimed at reducing excess capacity and promoting structural adjustment in the industry.



Peer Review of Germany’s shipbuilding industry - A strong international position in some key niche markets

Over the past 25 years German shipbuilding has faced increased competition. Crises in the international market have resulted in a withdrawal of German yards from container ship and tanker markets, and a shift to customised high value added vessels such as cruise ships, research vessels, mega-yachts and platforms serving the needs of the offshore oil & gas and wind industries, which requires excellent system integration skills.

This paper describes the structure of Germany’s shipbuilding industry, and examines some industry challenges such as the necessity to attract highly skilled employees and to continue investing strongly in R&D to maintain technological advantage.

Science and Technology


OECD releases new thematic brief and UK country note for the 2015 Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard

The United Kingdom Scoreboard country note shows that while employment is now at record levels, productivity has stagnated, slowing growth in salaries and living standards. At the same time, the UK has a relatively large ICT-intensive workforce, reflecting its services-oriented structure. Investment in knowledge capital is high compared to the rest of the OECD, but investment in machinery and equipment has been persistently low. The UK is also a leader in science and research. However, its institutions are relatively under-represented in engineering domains and disruptive inventions. UK public support for business investment in R&D is increasingly channelled through tax incentives.

A new data brief brings together indicators published in the 2015 STI Scoreboard to provide a synthesis of the latest available information on the use of R&D tax incentives across OECD and partner economies. The brief provides evidence on the design and cost of R&D tax relief and major recent trends. Detailed country notes are available for Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Blue Sky Forum: Final call for papers

This year’s OECD Blue Sky Forum will be held in Ghent, Belgium, on 19-21 September 2016.
Please submit your contributions by the 14th of March 2016 to

Did you know?


Some countries now invest more in knowledge-based assets such as intellectual property, organizational capital and training than they do in physical capital like machinery and equipment?


Digital economy
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Innovation in science, technology and industry
Industry, entrepreneurship and productivity
Science and technology policy
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