UK Is Ninth Best Country To Live Digitally

Britain United Kingdom Keyboard, Shutterstock - © ronfromyork

The UK has risen one place in Surfshark’s Digital Quality of Life index, but is ranked 32nd globally for ‘Internet quality’

The digital experience for residents of the United Kingdom is pretty good, as the country’s digital quality of life ranking improved over the past 12 months.

According to the fourth annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) from Surfshark, the UK have moved from 10th to a respectable 9th best country to live in, regarding digital wellbeing (and 7th in Europe).

This puts it ahead of countries such as South Korea (10th), the United States (12th), Norway (17th) and Italy (19th), but behind countries such as France and Germany.


Digital Quality of Life

SurfShark’s DQL reports on the digital experience of 117 countries, or 92 percent of the global population.

SurfShark’s DQL essentially evaluates countries based on five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars: internet quality, e-government, e-infrastructure, internet affordability, and e-security.

For the United Kingdom, out of the five fundamental digital life pillars, the worst score is for internet quality (where the UK is ranked 32nd globally), and the best is for e-government (3rd).

Internet quality considers internet speed, stability, and growth.

Regarding internet speed alone, the UK’s mobile internet ranks higher than fixed broadband in the global ranking, operating at 90.1 Mbps/s (25th globally). Meanwhile, the fixed broadband internet comes 40th (106.6 Mbps/s).

Compared to Ireland, the UK’s mobile internet is 41 percent faster, while broadband is 15 percent slower.

Since last year, mobile internet speed in the UK has improved by 15.3 percent (to 12 Mbps), and fixed broadband speed has grown by 15 percent (to 13.9 Mbps).

In comparison, Singapore’s residents enjoyed mobile speeds up to 104 Mbps/s and fixed broadband speeds to as much as 261 Mbps/s – that’s the fastest internet in the world this year.

UK’s e-infrastructure services are ranked 10th, while internet affordability and e-security rank 11th and 28th, respectively.

In the face of waging inflation, fixed broadband internet has become less affordable worldwide for the second year in a row, prying the global digital divide even further.

To tackle this, BT in May 2021 launched its half-price tariff plan for fibre broadband connections for millions of British households on low incomes.

Affordable connectivity

The UK’s internet affordability ranks 11th in the world according to SurfShark.

Residents can buy 1GB of mobile internet in the UK for as cheap as 27 seconds of work per month, 4 times less than in Ireland. However, compared to Israel, which has the most affordable mobile internet on the planet (5s per 1GB), Britons work 5 times more. Its affordability stayed relatively the same, having decreased by only 1 second.

Fixed broadband costs British citizens around 78 minutes of their working time each month.

To afford it, Britons have to work 4 times more than Israeli citizens, for whom the most affordable package costs only 19 min of work monthly.

“While countries with a strong digital quality of life tend to be those of advanced economies, our global study found that money doesn’t always buy digital happiness,” explained Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, head of PR at Surfshark.

“That is why, for the fourth year in a row, we continue analysing the Digital Quality of Life to see how different nations keep up with providing the basic digital necessities for their citizens,” said Racaityte-Krasauske. “Most importantly, our research seeks to show the full picture of the global digital divide that millions of people are suffering from.”

Global rankings

Israel is ranked 1st in DQL 2022 and Denmark is the runner-up in the second place.

Germany ranks 3rd, and France and Sweden round up the top five of the 117 evaluated nations.

Congo DR, Yemen, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon are the bottom five countries.

Regionally, the US stands out in the Americas as a country with the highest digital quality of life, while Israel takes the leading position in Asia. Among African countries, people in South Africa enjoy the highest digital life quality.

In Oceania, New Zealand takes the lead outperforming Australia in various digital areas this year.

The 2022 DQL research used data about the global population from the United Nations, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources.