Estonia is ranked 12th in the Inclusive Internet Index 2020, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The EIU’s internet inclusiveness index assesses internet availability, affordability, relevance and readiness using 56 indicators, including 18 qualitative indicators measuring the enabling environment for internet inclusion; 29 quantitative indicators exploring supply- and demand-side drivers of connectivity and quality access; and nine survey indicators drawn from “The Value of the Internet” survey, through which users voice how they use and perceive the internet. In its third iteration, the survey polled 4,953 respondents around the world and included questions about how they use the internet to manage their finances, the EIU said.
Estonia “is among the world’s most inclusive when it comes to Internet Relevance (ranked 2nd globally, thanks to ample availability of local content, including in the areas of finance and health), Readiness (5th) and Availability (6th). Estonia trails most European and most high-income countries, however, in the Affordability pillar,” according to the index.
Half the world is lagging behind
In the affordability pillar, Estonia ranks 35th, together with Greece.
The first country ranked in this year’s index is Sweden, followed by New Zealand and the United States. Australia and Denmark both ranked fourth, followed by South Korea, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Spain.
Looking at Estonia’s neighbours, Russia ranks 26th in the 2020 index, Lithuania 30th and Latvia 48th. Finland isn’t included in the index.
According to the EIU, global internet connectivity has grown substantially over the past five years, yet today nearly half the world remains on the other side of the digital divide.
“With connectivity spread unevenly both within and across countries, building an inclusive internet will require invigorated efforts and innovation from stakeholders,” the index asserted.
A slowdown in low-income countries threatens to widen the digital divide
“The results of the 2020 index confirm that growth in upper-middle-, lower-middle-, and low-income countries is slowing, signalling that with more than half the world connected, the remaining share will be harder to reach,” the EIU noted.
“In particular, the more dramatic slowdown in the pace of growth in low-income countries threatens to widen the digital divide where inclusion is needed most. For example, although the gender gap in internet access has narrowed over the past year, men are still 12.9% more likely than women to have Internet access globally, and 34.5% more likely in the lowest-income economies.”
The Economist Intelligence Unit published the Inclusive Internet Index for a fourth consecutive year, covering 100 countries and now representing 91% of the world’s population and 96% of global GDP.
The Economist Intelligence Unit is a British business within the Economist Group, providing forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, country risk service reports and industry reports.
Cover: Pupils and teachers at an IT class in Voore school, Estonia. The image is illustrative (photo by Ede Tamkivi).