Israel in top 10 for digital quality of life

Israel ranks 8th in the world for internet quality, affordability, infrastructure.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israelis can feel good that the startup nation is at the top of the digital world, with a study by a private firm released over the weekend showing that the Jewish state is ranked eighth in the world for digital quality of life.

The study by the virtual private network firm Surfshark showed that Israel has improved since its 2019 ranking, going from 13th to 8th place.

It’s the second year in a row that researchers at Surfshark produced their Digital Quality of Life Index, which compares what surfing and cellphone life is like in 85 countries that the company says represents 81 percent of the world population.

Not surprisingly, Israel ranked first overall for internet affordability, but at the same time the intensive competition in the digital market left the country ranked only 59th for internet quality.

Surfshark describe the index as “a global research on the quality of a digital wellbeing.” The company checked those 85 countries for what it calls the “five fundamental pillars that define the digital quality of life: internet affordability, internet quality, electronic infrastructure, electronic security, electronic government.”

Israelis can take some comfort that they are near the top of the digital mountain compared to others around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, which is forcing a large percentage of the population to work from home.

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It may be a lot more expensive there, but Denmark, Sweden Canada, France and Norway were the top five countries, followed by Holland, the United Kingdom and then Israel.

Despite its economic prowess, the United States ranked only 22nd in digital quality of life, although if you have to pay taxes or renew your driver’s license online, the U.S. ranked third for government digital services.

Israelis can thank former Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for the Jewish state’s number one ranking for digital affordability. Ten years ago, when he was Communications Minister, Kahlon got a law passed that broke the monopoly on Israel’s cellular telephone market, creating real competition.

Those market reforms caused cellular and internet prices to plunge by more than 50 percent, and within a few years Israeli consumers had saved an estimated $5 billion on their phone and internet bills.

However, although some of the world’s top digital security companies are based in Israel, the country ranks only 28th for internet security and digital services offered by the government, and 31st when it comes to electronic infrastructure.

The study also singled out the top countries for where they could improve. Surfshark noted that Scandinavian countries suffer from low broadband and affordability, while despite its No. 3 ranking, Canada has low mobile affordability and poor broadband stability.

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The good feeling of Israel’s No. 8 spot in the world might not be enough compensation for Israeli consumers, as the researchers noted that Israel has “mediocre internet quality.”