The fourth annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) reports that Ireland is the 24th best country to live in regarding digital wellbeing. That is out of 117 countries, or 92% of the global population. Out of the five fundamental digital life pillars, Ireland’s worst score is for internet affordability (ranking 36th globally), and the best is for e-infrastructure (18th). Ireland’s e-government services come 23rd, while e-security and internet quality rank 25th and 35th, 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.
Surfshark’s study evaluates countries based on five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars: internet quality, e-government, e-infrastructure, internet affordability, and e-security. This year, Ireland has made it into the top 30 globally, ranking 24th in the final index and 19th in Europe.
The country has not changed its ranking since last year’s edition. Out of all index pillars, Ireland’s weakest spot is internet affordability, which needs to improve by 780% to match the best-ranking country’s result (Israel’s).
Internet quality in Ireland is above average, and on a global scale fixed broadband internet is better than mobile
Ireland’s internet quality, considering internet speed, stability, and growth, ranks 35th in the world and is 17% better than the global average. Regarding internet speed alone, Ireland’s fixed broadband internet ranks higher than mobile in the global ranking, operating at 124.9 Mbps/s (32nd globally). Meanwhile, the mobile internet comes 38th (63.7 Mbps/s).
Compared to the U.K., Ireland’s mobile internet is 29% slower, while broadband is 17% faster. Since last year, mobile internet speed in Ireland has improved by 33.7% (16.1 Mbps), and fixed broadband speed has grown by 10.7% (12.1 Mbps). In comparison, Singapore’s residents enjoyed mobile speeds up to 104 Mbps/s and fixed to as much as 261 Mbps/s – that’s the fastest internet in the world this year.
Internet in Ireland is moderately affordable compared to global standards, but there’s still room for improvement
Ireland’s internet affordability ranks 36th in the world. Residents can buy 1GB of mobile internet in Ireland for as cheap as 1 minutes 51 seconds of work per month, 4 times more than in U.K.. However, compared to Israel, which has the most affordable mobile internet on the planet (5s per 1GB), Irish work 23 times more. Its affordability decreased since the previous year, making people work 85 seconds more to afford the same mobile internet service.
Fixed broadband costs Irish citizens around 1 hour 43 minutes of their precious working time each month. To afford it, Irish have to work 5 times more than Israeli citizens, for whom the most affordable package costs only 19 min of work monthly. Since last year, broadband internet has become less affordable in Ireland, making people work 3 minutes more to afford fixed broadband internet service.
The global digital divide is now deeper than ever
Globally, broadband is getting less affordable each year. Looking at countries included in last year’s index, people have to work six minutes more to afford broadband internet in 2022. In some countries, such as Ivory Coast and Uganda, people work an average of 2 weeks to earn the cheapest fixed broadband internet package. A similar trend was observed last year. With the current inflation, the pressure on low-income households that need the internet has become even heavier. Surfshark’s study also found that countries with the poorest internet connection have to work for it the longest.
“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,” – explains Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Head of PR at Surfshark. “That is why, for the fourth year in a row, we continue analyzing 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.”
The best and the worst countries to live in by the digital quality of life
Overall, 7 out of 10 highest-scoring countries are in Europe, which has been the case for the past three years. Israel ranks 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 examined more than 7.2 billion people regarding five core pillars and 14 underpinning indicators that provide a comprehensive measure. The study is based on the United Nations open-source information, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources. This year’s study includes seven (6%) more countries than DQL 2021, most of which are African countries.
The final 2022 Digital Quality of Life report and an interactive country comparison tool can be found here: https://surfshark.com/dql2022