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Slow Broadband Drags UK Down Digital Quality of Life Index

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 1,033
digital_quality_of_life_index_2020

Surfshark has examined internet affordability, internet quality, e-infrastructure, e-security and e-government services across 85 countries to produce their latest ‘Digital Quality of Life Index 2020‘, which ranks the United Kingdom 7th overall. But we’re being dragging down by poor broadband and mobile connectivity.

The study itself boasts about covering 81% of the global population (6.3 billion people) and reveals insights on what tangible factors have the greatest impact on every country’s digital quality of life.

At first glance the UK appears to do well, although most of this is down to an extremely strong showing for online security and government services, which were found to be some of the best in the world. On the flip side we ranked 18th for internet affordability, meaning that going online in the UK is less affordable than in France, Canada and Australia etc.

Even worse is the fact that we only rank 33rd for internet quality, which is largely due to our broadband speeds being below the majority of Europe, as well as that of Israel and Singapore. For example, mobile broadband speeds were just 32.05Mbps (global rank of 44th) and fixed broadband speeds returned 22.7Mbps (rank of 27th).

digital_quality_of_life_index_2020_uk_scores_and_rank

We should point out that the study appears to base some of its research off results from Ookla’s Speedtest.net service and Cable.co.uk’s broadband performance results (i.e. this tends to reflect the take-up of services more than actual network availability). The latter is also used for their price and affordability calculations, which as we’ve noted before fails to consider Purchasing Power Parity (necessary if you want to do a fairer apples-to-apples style comparison).

The application of PPP is important because there can be huge differences between countries in terms of things like taxation, infrastructure standards, size of the state and monthly salaries. Put another way, you might well pay significantly less for a 100Mbps service in another country, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s actually “cheaper.”

None of this is to say that the UK would perform significantly better if we suddenly examined network availability and added PPP to the affordability gauge, but it is still important to put these things into their rightful context. Simply taking the figures at face value often doesn’t tell the whole story (e.g. just under a third of UK people are still on slow ADSL, despite faster services being available to 96%+ of premises).

Speaking of context, the top country came out as Denmark, which ranked just 7th for internet affordability and 5th for internet quality (fixed broadband speeds of 49.19Mbps and mobile of 48.25Mbps).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Dazzza says:

    I’d love fast broadband, I’m paying for fibre but the fastest my broadband will go is 11mb

    1. Avatar framer George says:

      Who with? What area/city? So little information!

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      It looks like you don’t have fibre, most likely you are using a copper VDSL line, not fibre!
      It wouldn’t be the first time users are tricked into believing they got fibre when in fact they don’t have it. A legacy of the incompetency of ASA not doing its job of preventing false fibre adverts.

  2. Avatar timothy says:

    I read their report last year as well, it’s an interesting piece of research. This year it’s even more interactive. I’m happy I have Surfshark as my VPN provider, hopefully, they develop more similar projects in the future.

  3. Avatar Alex Metslov says:

    Well, I do remember virgin media was advertising UK broadband was one of the fastest in the world. Taking 5th on global view.
    What happened?

    1. Avatar Name says:

      Unlike to others, they’ve stopped moving ahead.

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