Mixed results for UK in latest digital quality of life index

Despite rising to ninth overall in the new DQL, the UK ranks only 32nd in the world when it comes to internet quality

Surfshark’s fourth annual digital quality of life index (DQL) contains some decidedly mixed results for the UK.

Despite ranking as the ninth best place to live in regard to digital wellbeing – a rise of one place on 2021 – that overall rating disguises some wide fluctuations.

For example, while the UK is placed third in the world for e-government, it comes only 32nd for internet quality (which breaks down as 25th when it comes to mobile internet and 40th for fixed broadband).

The other areas evaluated by the DQL are e-infrastructure services (with the UK ranked 10th), internet affordability (11th) and e-security (28th).

Broadband became less affordable across the world during the last year, with the report finding that people have to work six minutes more to pay for it now than in 2021.

Perhaps the most striking element of the DQL lies in its offering of a global perspective. While there is understandable concern in the UK about a national digital divide, and its impact on social mobility and life chances, the international gap is altogether more stark.

Most importantly, our research seeks to show the full picture of the global digital divide that millions of people are suffering from – Gabrielė Račaitytė-Krasauskė, Surfshark

In countries such as Ivory Coast and Uganda, finds the digital quality of life index, people have to work an average of two weeks to be able to afford the cheapest fixed broadband internet package.

In the UK, by contrast, the average is 78 minutes.

Moreover, the countries where users have to work the longest to pay for online access are also those with the poorest internet connection.

“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,” said Gabrielė Račaitytė-Krasauskė, 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.

“Most importantly, our research seeks to show the full picture of the global digital divide that millions of people are suffering from.”

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