Australia’s digital quality of life has improved over the past year, but the country’s overall internet service remains well below the global average.
The latest Digital Quality of Life Index compiled by Netherlands-based VPN provider and cyber-security company Surfshark reveals that Australia’s average internet speed is languishing at less than a third that of Singapore which has the world’s fastest fixed internet.
Australia ranks 30th overall in the latest Digital Quality of Life Index, and while this is up five places from last year, it is still three places below New Zealand and 15 places below the UK.
Over the past five years, the Digital Quality of Life Index has ranked the digital wellbeing of 121 countries covering 92 per cent of the world’s population, basing the analysis on five pillars. These are internet affordability and quality, as well as electronic infrastructure, security and government – the latter determining how advanced and digitalised a country’s government services are.
Surfshark spokesperson Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske says that digital quality of life has merged into the broader concept of overall quality of life across many of the countries surveyed.
“There’s no other way to look at it now that so many daily activities, including work, education, and leisure, are done online,” Racaityte-Krasauske says.
“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.”
For the record, France topped the Digital Quality of Life Index in 2023, joining nine European countries making the top 10, including Finland, Denmark and Germany. Singapore rounded out the best of the best at number 10.
Australia was among the best countries in the world in the e-government pillar, where it was ranked seventh, with the report noting that this measure shows how advanced a government’s digital services are and the level of artificial intelligence readiness a country demonstrates.
However, Australia’s internet quality is 8 per cent below the global average with fixed-internet averages of 89 Mbps (megabits per second) compared with Singapore’s 300 Mpbs.
Mobile internet speed in Australia averages 163 Mbps, which compares with the United Arab Emirates at 310 Mbps.
The index shows internet quality as being Australia’s biggest weakness, ranking the country at 72 in the list of 121 countries.
There has been some improvement as the index reveals mobile internet speed increased by 17 per cent over the past year, while the average fixed broadband speed increased by 9 per cent.
Although New Zealand has a higher Digital Quality of Life ranking, Australia’s mobile internet is 28 per cent faster, while its fixed broadband is 60 per cent slower.
Internet affordability is a big winner in Australia, which is ranked eighth in the world.
Australians have to work for an hour and 18 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet. That compares with Romanians who only have to work 18 minutes a month, making Romania the world’s cheapest country for internet access.
Of the other pillars, Australia ranks 20th in e-infrastructure and 41st in e-security, which has risen two places in the past year.
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