This section presents figures on ICT in Belgium. An indication of Belgium's ranking at the European level is given whenever possible. The sources are quoted in the brochure “Baromètre de la société de l’information 2019” (Information Society Barometer) (PDF, 4.05 Mo).
The indicators cover various areas:
- internet infrastructure;
- households and individuals;
- the collaborative economy;
Most of these indicators are collected by government agencies in the context of international surveys. These data are useful for positioning Belgium in terms of ICT, whether at the national or international level. Some of these indicators also make it possible to measure Belgium's progress in implementing the Digital Agenda for Europe by 2020 and the comprehensive “Digital Economy and Society Index” (DESI).
Internet infrastructure (2018)
The coverage of Belgian households with basic broadband internet is almost complete, since in June 2018 it reached 99.3 %. As regards fixed broadband coverage of at least 30 Mbps (or Next Generation Access - NGA), this reached 98.99 %, the third highest in the EU. The convergence of these two rates demonstrates the quality of broadband infrastructure in Belgium. In July 2018, 89 % of fixed broadband subscriptions were for at least 30 Mbps, placing Belgium at the head of the 28 EU countries. Subscriptions for at least 100 Mbps represented 53 % of the total in Belgium, placing our country in fourth position in the EU; the European leader was Sweden with 71 %.
The population coverage rate (in percentage of households) for 4G mobile internet was 99.63 % in Belgium in mid-2018, placing the country in second position in the EU. Despite the almost complete population coverage, Belgium continues to suffer from a low penetration rate for high-speed mobile Internet (≥ 3G). In July 2018, we had 75.6 subscriptions (3G or more) for every 100 inhabitants, which is much lower than the EU average (96) and places us in a modest 24th position.
Households and individuals (2018)
87 % of Belgian households have an internet connection. In the vast majority of cases, this is a broadband internet connection (96 %).
8.6 % (women 10.1 %, men 7.1 %) of individuals (aged 16-74) in Belgium have never used the internet. This figure is a fall of 1.2 percentage points compared with 2017.
38 % (women 36 %, men 41 %) of individuals (aged 16-74) in Belgium have used internet storage space (cloud computing) for private purposes.
73 % (women 72 %, men 73 %) of individuals (aged 16-74) have used the internet to communicate on social networks.
Businesses employing at least 10 people (2018)
97.3 % of the businesses established in Belgium have broadband Internet access (fixed or mobile).
57 % of businesses established in Belgium use high-speed broadband lines (≥ 30 Mbps), versus 44 % of European businesses. Ultra-fast broadband (≥ 100 Mbps) is already used by 29 % of Belgian businesses, versus 18 % at the European level.
40 % of businesses buy cloud computing services and 30 % of businesses pay for internet advertising.
21 % of businesses issue electronic invoices which facilitate automatic processing and 33 % received them.
Collaborative economy (2018)
18 % of individuals have organised the booking/rental of accommodation from an individual using a specific application or website designed for this purpose, while 6 % have done so using a website or other application.
7 % of individuals have organised the use of a transport service offered by an individual using a specific application or website design for this purpose, while 2 % have done so using a website or other application.
60.5 % of Belgian inhabitants (women 59.9 %, men 61.1 %) have made online purchases, an increase of 0.9 percentage points in 12 months.
32.5 % of the turnover of businesses established in Belgium comes from e-commerce. 17 % comes from sales via EDI messages and 15.5 % comes from sales (excl. VAT) from a website.
30 % of Belgian businesses generate sales through computer networks (the European average is 20 %).
49 % of Belgian businesses make purchases through computer networks (the European average is 45 %).
56 % of citizens (women 54 %, men 59 %) have used the internet in their dealings with public services.
37 % of private individuals established in Belgium (women 34 %, men 41 %) have returned completed forms to public administrations via the internet, the 13th highest level in the EU. If we restrict these results to individuals who had to complete forms and send them to public administrations, 51 % of them did so via the Internet (women 48 %, men 54 %), which is the 19th ranking score in the EU.
54 % of personal income tax returns have been submitted to the tax authorities electronically.
The number of visits to the mypension.be website dropped by 40 % over twelve months, from 888,704 unique visitors in November-December 2017 to 531,513 in November-December 2018.
The number of invoices received by the authorities for B2G electronic invoicing increased by 106 % over twelve months, from 30,967 in November-December 2017 to 63,780 in November-December 2018.