UK ranks 15th globally in ‘digital quality of life’ index, says report

Cybersecurity, Internet, News

Surfshark’s 5th annual Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) ranks the United Kingdom 15th in the world, dropping by six places from last year.

Out of the Index’s 5 pillars, the United Kingdom performed best in e-government, claiming 8th place, while facing challenges in internet quality, ranking 32nd.

The nation ranks 13th in e-infrastructure, 22nd in internet affordability and 23rd in e-security. In the overall Index, the United Kingdom surpasses Ireland (23rd) and the US (19th). Overall, European countries lead the world in their digital quality of life, the United Kingdom taking 14th place in the region.

“It’s reassuring to see the United Kingdom rank so well in the DQL Index. In many nations, ‘digital quality of life’ has merged into the broader concept of overall ‘quality of life’. There’s no other way to look at it now that so many daily activities, including work, education, and leisure, are done online.

“That’s why it’s crucial to pinpoint the areas in which a nation’s digital quality of life thrives and where attention is needed, which is the precise purpose of the DQL Index”, says Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Surfshark’s spokeswoman.

The United Kingdom’s internet quality is 17% higher than the global average

  • Fixed internet averages 142 Mbps in the United Kingdom. To put that into perspective, the world’s fastest fixed internet — Singapore’s — is 300 Mbps. Meanwhile, the slowest fixed internet in the world — Yemen’s — is 11 Mbps.
  • Mobile internet averages 100 Mbps. The fastest mobile internet — the UAE’s — is 310 Mbps, while the world’s slowest mobile internet — Venezuela’s — is 10 Mbps.

Compared to Ireland, the United Kingdom’s mobile internet is 28% faster, but fixed broadband is 5% slower. Since last year, mobile internet speed in the United Kingdom has improved by 11%, while fixed broadband speed has grown by 33%.

The internet is affordable in the United Kingdom compared to other countries

  • Britons have to work 1 hour 14 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet. While this is less than average, it is 4 times more than in Romania, which has the world’s most affordable fixed internet (Romanians have to work 18 minutes a month to afford it).
  • Britons have to work 41 minutes 53 seconds a month to afford mobile internet. This is 3 times more than in Luxembourg, which has the world’s most affordable mobile internet (Luxembourgers have to work 16 minutes a month to afford it).

The United Kingdom is 23rd in the world in e-security — 5 places higher than last year

The e-security pillar measures how well a country is prepared to counter cybercrime, as well as how advanced a country’s data protection laws are. The United Kingdom lags behind Ireland, which ranks 20th, but outperforms the US (43rd) in the e-security pillar. The United Kingdom is prepared to fight against cybercrime and the country has good data protection laws.

The United Kingdom is 13th in e-infrastructure and 8th in e-government

Advanced e-infrastructure makes it easy for people to use the internet for various daily activities, such as working, studying, shopping, etc. This pillar evaluates how high internet penetration is in a given country, as well as its network readiness (readiness to take advantage of Information and Communication Technologies). The United Kingdom’s internet penetration is high (95% — 19th in the world), and the country ranks 12th in network readiness.

The e-government pillar shows how advanced a government’s digital services are and the level of Artificial Intelligence (AI) readiness a country demonstrates. The United Kingdom’s e-government is well above the global average.

Globally, the internet is more affordable than last year

  • Fixed internet is 11% more affordable than last year — on average, people have to work 42 minutes less a month to afford it.
  • Mobile internet is 26% more affordable than last year — people have to work 41 minutes less to afford it.

The DQL Index 2023 examined 121 nations (92% of the global population) based on five core pillars that consist of 14 indicators. The study is based on the United Nations’ open-source information, the World Bank, and other sources. This year’s study includes four more countries than DQL 2022, reaffirming Surfshark’s commitment to global representation.

United Kingdom’s full profile in the 2023 Digital Quality of Life report and an interactive country comparison tool can be found here:

Chris Price
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