By Onome Amuge.
Internet is highly unaffordable in Nigeria compared to other countries as Nigerians have to work 35 hours 25 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet. This is 119 times more expensive than in Romania, which has the world’s most affordable fixed internet as Romanians have to work for only 18 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet.
Moreso, the average Nigerian works two hours,59 minutes and 15 seconds a month to afford mobile internet, 11 times more, compared to Luxembourg, which has the world’s most affordable mobile internet as Luxembourgers have to work for just 16 minutes a month to afford mobile internet.
This is according to the Digital Quality of Life index (DQL) compiled by leading cybersecurity firm,Surfshark.
The Digital Quality of Life index is an annual study that ranks 121 countries by their digital well-being based on five core pillars including internet quality, internet affordability, e-security, e-infrastructure, and e-government. The study is based on the United Nations’ open-source information, the World Bank, and other sources.
Surfshark, in its fifth annual DQL, showed that Nigeria slipped two places to the 88th spot on the global index ranking, as the most populous country in Africa lagged behind South Africa and Kenya,which occupied the 72nd and 76th positions respectively.
Out of the index’s five pillars, Nigeria performed best in internet quality, where it placed 62nd, while its challenge-ridding internet affordability was ranked 108th globally.
According to Surfshark, Nigeria’s internet quality is just around the global average as fixed internet averages 25 megabits per second (Mbps). Putting that into perspective, Surfshark noted that Singapore has a fixed internet of 300 Mbps, making it the world’s fastest fixed internet. Meanwhile, the slowest fixed internet in the world is that of Yemen which stands at 11 Mbps.
The Digital Quality of Life index also showed that since last year, mobile internet speed in Nigeria has improved by 87 per cent, while fixed broadband speed has grown by 33 per cent.
However, when compared to South Africa, Nigeria’s mobile internet is 31 per cent slower, while fixed broadband is 64 per cent slower.
In terms of e-security, Nigeria was placed 73rd in the world, seven places lower than its position last year. The e-security pillar measures how well a country is prepared to counter cybercrime, as well as how advanced a country’s data protection laws are. In this pillar, South Africa and Kenya also fared badly, occupying the 72nd and 65th positions respectively.
“Nigeria is unprepared to fight against cybercrime, and the country has deficient data protection laws,” Surfshark stated.
In other evaluations, Nigeria was ranked 93rd in e-infrastructure,88th in e-government,105th in network readiness, while the country’s internet penetration is considered moderate at 73 per cent, though Nigeria was ranked 86th in the world in that aspect.
Globally, the internet is considered more affordable than last year, with fixed internet rated 11 per cent more affordable in 2023 compared to 2022. On average, people have to work 42 minutes less a month to afford it, the study showed.
Similarly, mobile internet is 26 per cent more affordable than last year, as people must work 41 minutes less to afford it.
Commenting on the study,Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Surfshark’s spokesperson noted that in many nations, digital quality of life has merged into the broader concept of overall quality of life.
“There’s no other way to look at it now that so many daily activities, including work, education, and leisure, are done online,” she said.
This, Racaityte-Krasauske explained, is 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.