Denmark lives in the digital quality of life, the United States in fifth place

If you’re looking for the best digital quality of life in the world, Denmark is the place to be.

According to a study released Monday by VPN provider Surfshark, Hamlet’s home country ranked first out of 110 nations based on five measurement “pillars”: internet affordability, internet quality, infrastructure, security and government.

Within the pillars are 14 “indicators” that further refine the measurement of quality of life. For example, within the infrastructure pillar there are two indicators: individuals using the Internet and network readiness.

Countries were evaluated based on index points with a best possible value equal to one. Denmark scored the highest at 0.83, followed by South Korea (0.76), Finland (0.76), Israel (0.74), the USA (0.74) and Singapore (0.72).

2021 Digital Quality of Life Index (Source: Surfshark)

“The study’s methodology seems pretty solid,” noted Charles King, senior analyst at Scientist, a technology consulting firm in Hayward, California.

“Surfshark has improved the study since its launch in 2019, both in terms of the number of areas examined and the number of countries and regions covered,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Early Internet adopter

Roslyn Layton, vice president of Strand Consult, a technology consulting firm in Copenhagen, Denmark, noted that the results of the Surfshark study are similar to reports from the International Telecommunication Union. “Denmark consistently scores at the top,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Denmark was an early Internet adopter and quickly put all of its government online,” explained Layton, a naturalized Danish citizen. “He created tools that allowed individuals and businesses to interact with the government.”

“In the United States, there is a lot of paperwork involved in dealing with the government,” he continued. “Denmark immediately made this digital. It’s a way to encourage everyone to use the Internet.”

“As a result, government systems are highly usable, integrated, seamless and secure,” he said. “This has been the case for the past 20 years.”

However, in the Surfshark study, the United States ranked first in the e-government category, while Denmark ranked sixth.

Most and least developed countries in the e-government category (Image credit: Surfshark)

“This may be reasonable compared to other countries, but our research found that the United States still has room for improvement in the delivery of e-government services,” said Joe Kane, director of spectrum and broadband policy at the Foundation for Information Technology and Innovation. ITIF), a science and technology think tank in Washington DC

More competition is needed

Kane said Denmark has another advantage over the United States when it comes to nurturing digital life there.

“Denmark is a rich, dense country,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This makes it possible to connect the entire county and provide high-quality government services at a relatively affordable price.”

Denmark ranks first among the countries with the cheapest internet. At the other end of the spectrum, the five cheapest countries with internet are all located on the African continent. (Image source: SurfShark)

Layton added that Denmark also has a program to reduce the cost of building networks. “Networking licenses are streamlined,” he explained. “Service providers are encouraged to compete and invest.”

This contrasts with the competitive situation in the United States. “A lot of places in the U.S. don’t have competition, so there’s not a lot of incentive for carriers to upgrade,” said Jack E. Gold, the company’s founder and chief analyst. J. Gold Associates is an IT consulting firm in Northborough, Mass.

“It’s changing and it’s changing fast,” he told TechNewsWorld, “because of 5G and wireless access in many areas.”

However, he emphasized that the United States could be more competitive with other nations if it pursued a broad-based policy. “Many European countries have policies that say, ‘You do it and we’ll finance it.’ This is an advantage for certain countries,” he explained. “In the United States, it’s all about private enterprise.”

Well, despite the challenges

King noted that while the U.S. is the leading market in both technology development and products, the federal government’s pro-business approach has resulted in significant disparities in Internet quality, availability and cost. “The ‘digital divide’ remains wide, especially in rural and smaller communities,” he said.

“There are people in the United States who are not digitally literate,” Layton added. “They lack education. A lot of people have no interest in the internet at all, although that has definitely changed with Covid – and since the US is a much bigger country,

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