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The third annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) ranks Finland 3rd among 110 countries. Covering 90% of the global population, the DQL study is conducted by the cybersecurity company Surfshark and evaluates countries based on a set of five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars. Finland excels in four, specifically internet affordability (4th), e-infrastructure (7th), e-government (4th), and e-security (7th), but displays a comparatively lower result in internet quality (27th).

Overall, Finland has significantly improved its digital well-being compared to the DQL 2020, rising from 11th place to 3rd and outperforming Sweden and Norway in the final score. The study shows that Finland has the 2nd most affordable broadband internet worldwide. Finns have to work 31min to afford the cheapest broadband internet package – it is 1 hour 21 min less than in 2020.

Globally the cheapest broadband internet costs 6 hours of work per month. For comparison, Danes and Swedes have to work 3 times more to pay for broadband internet while Norwegians work a striking 4 times more. The country also boasts better e-security and e-government scores than Denmark, which came in 1st place globally this year.

However, the research also shows that Finland’s internet quality has decreased by 18% since last year. Its lowest ranking criteria is broadband speed growth YoY, broadband internet stability and broadband speed. Despite this, Northern European countries, including Finland, still have a higher DQL than almost two-thirds (63%) of the world

“Digital opportunities have proved to be more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, stressing the importance for every country to ensure fully remote operational capacities for their economies,” explains Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark. “That is why, for the third year in a row, we continue the Digital Quality of Life research, which provides a robust global outlook into how countries excel digitally. The index sets the basis for meaningful discussions about how digital advancement impacts a country’s prosperity and where improvements can be made.”

In an all-around picture, 6 out of 10 countries holding the highest scores are located in Europe, following last year’s trend. Denmark ranks 1st in DQL for the second year in a row and is closely followed by South Korea. Finland ranks 3rd, while Israel and the U.S. round out the top five of 110 nations that were evaluated. The bottom 5 countries are Ethiopia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, and Angola.

Regionally, the U.S. stands out as a country with the highest digital quality of life in the Americas, while South Korea takes the leading position in Asia. Among countries in Africa, people in South Africa enjoy the highest quality of their digital lives whereas Australia leads in Oceania, outperforming New Zealand in various digital areas.

Other significant findings of the report include:

  • Broadband is globally less affordable this year. Comparing countries included in both DQL20 and DQL21, people have to work 11% more (25 min more) to afford broadband internet in 2021. However, people have to work 29% less (28 min less) to afford mobile internet this year. 
  • The world’s worst internet is the least affordable. People in some countries, such as Nigeria, Côte D'Ivoire and Mali require approximately a week’s worth of work to afford the internet.
  • Investing in electronic infrastructure and electronic government contributes to people’s digital wellbeing the most.

The 2021 DQL research examined a total population of more than 6.9 billion people in terms of five core pillars and 14 underpinning indicators that provide a comprehensive measure. The study is based on open-source information provided by the United Nations, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources.

The final 2021 Digital Quality of Life report and an interactive country comparison tool can be found here: https://surfshark.com/dql2021

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