Sydney, Sept 12: In the digital age, where nearly every aspect of our lives is intertwined with the internet, Surfshark’s 5th annual Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) has shed light on how well countries around the world are embracing digital technologies. According to the latest DQL Index, Australia has climbed five places compared to the previous year, now ranking 30th out of 121 nations. The study assessed nations across five key pillars, highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement.
Australia’s standout performance comes in the realm of e-government, where it secures the 7th spot globally. The e-government pillar evaluates a country’s digital services’ advancement and its readiness for artificial intelligence integration. This accomplishment reflects the country’s commitment to providing efficient and accessible digital government services.
Challenges in Internet Quality
Despite its strides in e-government, Australia faces challenges in internet quality, ranking 72nd globally. The report reveals that Australia’s internet quality is 8 per cent lower than the global average. Fixed internet in the country averages at 89 Mbps, lagging significantly behind leaders like Singapore, which boasts an impressive 300 Mbps. While mobile internet in Australia averages 163 Mbps, improvements have been noted with a 17 per cent increase in mobile internet speed and a 9 per cent growth in fixed broadband speed compared to the previous year.
Comparing Australia to its neighbor, New Zealand, the study shows that Australia’s mobile internet is 28 per cent faster but falls short by 60 per cent in terms of fixed broadband speed.
Australia scores well in internet affordability, ranking 8th globally. The report reveals that Australians need to work approximately one hour and 18 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet, which is less than the global average. However, it is worth noting that this is four times more than in Romania, which boasts the world’s most affordable fixed internet.
For mobile internet, Australians have to work approximately 23 minutes and 48 seconds a month, which is 46 per cent more than the residents of Luxembourg, who have the most affordable mobile internet in the world, needing just 16 minutes a month to afford it.
E-Infrastructure and E-Security
In the e-infrastructure pillar, Australia secures the 20th position, evaluating how well the country enables its citizens to use the internet for various daily activities. High internet penetration (90 per cent) and 14th place in network readiness contribute to Australia’s ranking in this category.
Australia also shows improvement in e-security, ranking 41st in the world, two places higher than the previous year. This pillar assesses a country’s preparedness to combat cybercrime and the strength of its data protection laws. While Australia has made strides in this area, it still lags behind New Zealand (36th) and the UK (23rd).
Globally, the study reveals that the internet has become more affordable than the previous year. Fixed internet has become 11 per cent more affordable, with people needing to work 42 minutes less a month to afford it. Similarly, mobile internet is 26 per cent more affordable, requiring people to work 41 minutes less to afford it.
The DQL Index 2023 evaluated 121 nations, covering 92 per cent of the global population, based on five core pillars comprising 14 indicators. The study relied on open-source information from the United Nations, the World Bank, and other reputable sources. This year’s study included four more countries than the 2022 edition, underscoring Surfshark’s commitment to global representation.
Australia’s improved ranking in the DQL Index 2023 highlights the country’s strides in embracing the digital age, but it also emphasizes the need for further efforts to enhance internet quality and security to ensure its citizens enjoy a high-quality digital life.
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