The , which was adopted by the Federal Government in summer 2014, serves as the government’s road map for implementing digital policies in cooperation with the business community, the social partners, civil society and academia. At the 2016 CeBIT fair, former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel presented the Digital Strategy 2025. This strategy sets out important measures and policy instruments that Germany will need to deploy in this legislative term and beyond in order to make a success of the digital transformation.
National IT Summit: the central platform for developing digital policies
The National IT Summit is the central platform for stakeholders involved in the digital transformation. The last IT Summit, which took place in November 2016, focused on ‘Learning and acting in the digital world’. High-level members of the broad-based summit network discussed the key challenges of digitalisation that we will face in our economy and the job market, the latest developments in digital networks, mobility, e-government and IT security.
High-speed networks are key
Good networks and internet connections are key for driving forward digitalisation. As digitalisation picks up speed, we need to to ensure that our data networks deliver the capacity, availability and latency required. These networks serve as the basis for a digitised society and smart networking. A lot has been achieved over the last few years: More than 70 per cent of German households have access to 50 mbps connections and LTE has been swiftly expanded. There has been a great response to the Federal Government’s broadband funding programme. In order to account for the more demanding requirements that need to be met in the context of (Internet of Things, Big Data) and (for example e-health, e-government, smart cities), we need to further update our broadband connections: we need gigabit networks that deliver high speed downloads and uploads, we need reliable real-time transmission of data and high-quality internet services. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is stepping up its efforts to ensure that such gigabit networks will be established in Germany by 2025. It has proposed a number of specific measures under its (such as establishing a fund for future investment in rural areas and a legal framework that is conducive to investment and innovation).
Driving forward digital inclusion and skills development
Digitalisation is particularly affecting the areas of knowledge, education and training: our job roles will be fundamentally transformed. This means that a special focus needs to be placed on digital inclusion and education. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the ‘D21 Digital Index’, which is the most relevant study for assessing to what extent Germany has been digitised so far.
The focus is no longer exclusively on helping people gain access to the internet, but on securing an adequate supply of skilled workers and on digital inclusion. At the 2016 IT Summit, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy presented a paper on digital education outlining how digital learning and skills development are to be enshrined across the entire education chain.