Kingdom leads in digital connectivity

BAHRAIN is amongst the top 10 countries in Asia for digital connectivity and has shown one of the biggest improvements internationally in the last year, according to recent research by a top Internet firm.

The kingdom is ranked ninth in Asia and 39th globally in the Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index published by Surfshark, based on a weighted average assessment of Internet affordability, Internet quality, electronic infrastructure, electronic security and electronic government.

“Overall, Bahrain has demonstrated one of the most significant improvements compared to DQL 2020, rising by 22 places – one of the biggest jumps this year – from 61st place to 39th,” the Surfshark report noted.


Bahrain rises 22 places in the Digital Quality of Life Index

“Coming fourth in Western Asia, the country outranked Saudi Arabia and the UAE this year. Bahrain’s Internet quality and e-infrastructure are among the top 30 in the world. The study shows notable growth in Internet affordability and e-security, which improved by 176 per cent and 117pc, respectively.”

Bahrain also ranked first in terms of broadband speed growth in the last year, primarily due to leaps in 5G and fiber Internet roll-out across the kingdom.


The broadband Internet speed growth was determined by comparing the changes in download speeds from April 2020 to April 2021. Bahrain showed an increase in speed equal to or greater than 100pc, earning an index rating of 1.0 and a first-place ranking.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, meanwhile, earned index ratings of 0.43, 0.44 and 0.02, respectively.

In mobile speed improvement, Bahrain was ranked 14th in the world.

The weighted DQL Index is based on assessments in five categories – Internet affordability, Internet quality, electronic infrastructure, electronic security and electronic government.

Bahrain’s Internet quality is the 12th best in the world, based on speed, stability and speed improvement, both in broadband and mobile Internet connections.

According to the index, almost 98pc of individuals use the Internet in Bahrain, making its infrastructure amongst the top 30 in the world.

The study also found that “investing in electronic infrastructure and electronic government contributes to people’s digital wellbeing the most”.

Although the world saw broadband become less affordable globally, the study found that Bahrainis have to work two hours less than in 2019-20 to afford the cheapest broadband package on the market.


Bahrain’s ranking (in yellow) compared, globally

The kingdom still has room for improvement in certain areas, with the DQL Index finding that Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s mobile and broadband Internet is twice as fast. Additionally, Saudis have to work a striking four times less, to afford mobile Internet.

In terms of electronic security, Bahrain was ranked 86th out of the 110 countries surveyed in the study, which cover 90pc of the global population.

Cybersecurity was found to be a significant threat, with Bahrain earning an indexed assessment of 0.27 and a ranking of 96th globally. However, the report found that data protection laws in Bahrain were among the best in the world.

Overall, Denmark topped the DQL Index for the second year in a row, followed by South Korea and Finland. Cambodia, Cameroon and Ethiopia were found to have the lowest DQL Index among the surveyed countries.


The GDN previously reported that the latest report published by UN in 2020 shows that mobile penetration was 119pc, whereas the percentage of Internet users in the kingdom has reached 99.7pc.

According to the International Telecommunication Union’s data, Bahrain ranks first globally in that metric.

The number of mobile subscriptions was 1,748,672 by the end of 2020, while the number of fixed line subscriptions reached 220,435 by end-2020.

The number of Internet service subscriptions was 2,009,605 by the end of last year.




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