Cologne, Hamburg and Munich are the digital centres in Germany. Based on 20 criteria from the areas of administration and politics, communications, infrastructure and energy, the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers teamed up with theInstitute of Geography from the University of Bonn to set up a ranking on Germany’s 25 best digital centres of the country’s large cities. Out of 20 points, Hamburg reached 15.6.
On average, the top 10 cities of the rankings have significantly better indicators than the cities in the remaining ranks, no matter whether the criteria was trade tax revenue or employment. Also, the proportion of highly qualified people is significantly higher in the top flight. Last but not least, the population of cities ranked one to ten grew on average by 3.9 per cent, which is almost twice as strong as in the other cities.
More Citizen Participation in the Internet
On behalf of PwC, also more than 200 cities and counties were interviewed on the importance and status of digitalisation. 70 per cent of them stated that digitization plays a large or very large role in the development strategy of their municipality. In many places in Germany, it is for example possible to arrange an appointment with a public office online or to buy a bus ticket via mobile phone. To be present in social media also has become a standard of large cities. More complex services are offered less. Only in nine of the 25 cities surveyed citizens can order, for example, a parking permit online. Also, the Internet is yet hardly used for taking municipal decisions.
Lack of Broadband Networks
64 per cent of the municipalities that participated in the survey mentioned the strained budget situation as a major obstacle to further digitisation. The expansion of the broadband network is a central problem, a huge neglect of Germany by international standards. There is also a risk that the digital divide between the progressive municipalities and those who do not pursue digitisation with vigour will deepen even further, says Professor Claus Wiegandt from the Department of Geography of the University of Bonn.
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