GKI Economic Research Co. conducts quarterly surveys on the internet usage of local governments and the development of electronic government in Hungary. The following is a summary of the most crucial results of the 2001 fourth quarter survey.
In the fourth quarter of 2001 the percentage of local governments with internet access rose by a marked 11% compared with the previous quarter; 69% of the responding local governments indicated that they had internet access. An additional 23% of respondents had plans to acquire internet access within the next twelve months. Local governments that did not indicate any plans, making up 8% of the responses, were all located in townships. In a regional breakdown, the internet access of local governments is most prevalent in Central Hungary and in the Southern Great Plain, while the regions of Central Transdanubia, Northern Hungary and the Northern Great Plain are below the average.
In terms of connection types, the traditional dial-up connections are increasingly being replaced by more modern telecommunication channels providing high speed data transfer. By the fourth quarter of 2001 the percentage of ISDN-type internet access exceeded that of the traditional dial-up connections. According to the responses, the ratio of internet access via analog modem versus ISDN will be one-third to two-thirds in the next twelve months. Local governments with leased lines or cable TV telecommunication channels are even less frequent; these can be seen primarily in city government offices.
Approximately 12% of all responding local governments have intranets. However, there are major differences based on community types, given that a certain minimum size is necessary for the optimal utilization of the intranet. While intranet use is rare in townships, almost half of all towns, more than half of the towns with county rights and two-thirds of the capital’s districts have intranets.
In addition to traditional landline phones, local governments tend to use mobile communication devices to a surprisingly great extent. In the responses of local governments, the average number of landlines totaled eight, while the average number of mobile phones was five, indicating that mobile communication is increasingly gaining ground. Fax devices continue to play a prominent role: on average, local governments have two fax machines. Pagers are not typical in this sector.
We estimate that the number of personal computers owned by local governments in Hungary totals 37 thousand. The table below lists the average numbers in a breakdown by community types.
Three-to-five-year-old Pentium I-II (or PCs with similar specifications) makeup a large percentage (70%) of computers used by local governments. The responses reveal that governments are still using old models (486 or older). Their percentage is small (18%), but considering their technical capabilities, their absolute number is high. An even smaller percentage (12%) is made up by modern computers equipped with Pentium III or IV processors (or similar specs). Local governments are generally not using PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants).
As low as 24% of responding local governments reported that they had their own websites. 46% of local governments with no websites wished to change this situation within a year. Nevertheless, 38% of them did not plan to create their own websites. Governments of cities and capital districts that have not yet set up their own web pages generally intend to do so within the next year.
In addition to the existing telehouses and telecottages (public internet access points), 30% of township governments, 25% of city governments and 40% of the capital’s districts intend to set up additional public internet access points.