Have you ever wondered which countries enjoy the top positions when it comes to the next-generation of connectivity? The global community network, InterNations, has released a report on Digital Life Abroad that ranks countries based on the availability of government’s online services, the ease with which you can get a local mobile number, availability of high-speed Internet at home, cashless payments, and open access to the Internet.
Here’s the list of countries that have been ranked among at the top-most position in each of the five categories.
Estonia – Overall Ranking – 1
Estonia was ranked number one in the InterNations survey and enjoys the highest ranking in unrestricted internet access and government services that are available online. Estonia has been making heavy investments in digital infrastructure ever since 1991 when it reclaimed its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The e-Estonia program, which is backed up by the government, has introduced e-voting, e-health, e-banking, and even e-residency. The e-residency service allows non-residents to apply for a virtual residency to get entitlement to identity card, banking services, payment processing, and even the ability to set up a company.
Alexandra Nima, an Australian entrepreneur who is residing in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, said, ‘It’s seen as a basic human right here in Estonia to have access to the IInternet. Even the remote Estonian islands, like beautiful Saaremaa, have internet access. Here, everything from registering as a resident to opening a company (online of course), is fast as can be.
Finland – Overall Ranking – 2
Finland has high scores in four categories out of the total five and enjoys the second rank in digital life overall according to InterNations survey. It enjoys the first rank in the category of cashless payments. The government of Finland made it a legal right for every citizen to have access to an Internet connection in 2010.
Resident and native Heikki Väänänen, CEO and founder of customer feedback platform HappyOrNot, said, ‘High-speed internet access combined with the freedom of speech makes our ecosystem more sustainable and safer. Everyone has access to information, and it gives equal opportunity to learn and impact on the future of the country.’ Peter Seenan, the founder of the blog Finland My Home, said, ‘Digital life means automation, like [automated] supermarket checkouts, and it also means online services in English, which makes daily life easy to navigate without speaking or understanding Finnish. These days there is so much information online in English in Finland, from booking a doctor to learning about your rights as a worker. This has changed dramatically from when I first came here as an exchange student in 2004.’
Israel – Overall Ranking – 3
Israel is ranked third in two categories; unrestricted Internet access and ease of procuring a local mobile number. Furthermore, Israel enjoys an innovative and strong technology center. Residents of the country have quite happily the adopted the country’s nickname ‘Startup Nation’, and in fact, few citizens are truly away from the communication and social apps.
InterNations ambassador Maria Pinelis, said, ‘Even elderlies have smartphones and hang out on Facebook or text on WhatsApp or video chat on Messenger. You can easily see here [a woman] in her 70s messaging or video calling with her grandkids somewhere in the US.’
Rafael Hope, CEO and the co-founder of the digital media business Amen V’Amen, said, ‘I personally work mostly from home and coffee shops, which means I rely on public IInternet quite a lot. Many coffee shops offer free public WiFi, plus the local ISPs here in Israel offer public WiFi in many metropolitan areas for their customers to use for free.’
Canada – Overall Ranking 7
Canada has been scoring consistently good across most of the categories, especially in cashless payments and availability of government services online. Digital life is actually easier in larger cities, though. Canadian Eric Wychopen who blogs at Penguin and Pia, said, ‘Bigger centres like Toronto are more friendly to digital life. More [cash-free] payment methods, including mobile payments, are certainly trending in smaller, newer shops.’
The connectivity is costlier as opposed to other countries because of the fact that the telecommunication industry is consolidated. Thomas Jankowski, chief digital and growth officer at cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsquare, said, ‘Canada regularly tops a number of lists for the most expensive internet access, while also featuring some of the slowest’ high speed’ internet.’
Thomas further added, ‘Being able to start and operate a company online, handle banking, operations, bookkeeping, pay bills, renew documents all from one’s home, cafe, campground or even a tent [at least in campgrounds with WiFi coverage], can do wonders in terms of improving unit cost economics of a business, and result in enormous time savings.’
South Korea – Overall Ranking – 27
South Korea has been ranked number one when it comes to the factor of availability of high-speed IInternet at home. Seoul native, Choi Ye Eun, said, ‘Daily life in South Korea moves pretty fast. From shopping for food and getting it delivered to paying for it can all be done within almost five seconds.’ The country has also featured the highest internet speeds in the world. Choi also said, ‘It is an amazing thing that we are not bored on the train that we can watch YouTube and surf hashtags on Instagram.’