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Internet in Belgium is among the least affordable in Europe, study shows

06:56 20/10/2022

Belgium ranks 21st globally when it comes to digital quality of life, but is among one of the worst performers in Europe for internet affordability, according to the latest index from cybersecurity company Surfshark.

Surfshark’s Digital Quality of Life Index for 2022 saw Belgium rise in the rankings from 25th in 2021 to 21st this year, an improvement of four positions.

Its analysis covers 92% of the global population and measures 117 countries according to five fundamental pillars of digital life: internet affordability and quality, e-infrastructure, e-security, and e-government.

When it comes to internet affordability, Belgium ranks 44th worldwide but 28th out of 38 European countries, making it one of the worst in the region.

Fixed broadband costs Belgian citizens around 2 hours and 24 minutes of their working time each month, compared to just 19 minutes for citizens of Israel, the country that ranked highest.

“Globally, broadband is getting less affordable each year – in the face of inflation, fixed broadband internet has become less affordable worldwide for the second year in a row, prying the global digital divide even further,” Surfshark reported.

“Looking at countries included in last year's index, people have to work six minutes more to afford broadband internet in 2022. In some countries, such as Ivory Coast and Uganda, people work an average of two weeks to earn the cheapest fixed broadband internet package.”

Belgium's internet quality, which is measured by internet speed, stability and growth, is 16% better than the global average. Its mobile internet speed has improved by about 8.1% and fixed broadband speed has grown by 19.2%.

This still does not compete with neighbouring France, as Belgium’s mobile internet is comparatively 19% slower, with broadband 42% slower.

“Out of all index pillars, Belgium's weakest spot is e-government, which needs to improve by 40% to match the best-ranking country's result (the US),” the report summarises.

Overall, seven out of the 10 highest-scoring countries for digital quality of life are in Europe, which has been the case for the past three years.

Israel stole the number one spot from Denmark this year, which took second place followed by Germany in third. France and Sweden round out the top five of the 117 countries analysed.

The DRC, Yemen, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Cameroon are the bottom five countries.

“While countries with a strong digital quality of life tend to be those of advanced economies, our global study found that money doesn't always buy digital happiness,” said Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, head of PR at Surfshark.

“That is why, for the fourth year in a row, we continue analysing the Digital Quality of Life to see how different nations keep up with providing the basic digital necessities for their citizens. Most importantly, our research seeks to show the full picture of the global digital divide that millions of people are suffering from.”

Written by Helen Lyons



You didn't need a study to find out that Belgian has very expensive internet. We've been saying that for years!!!

Oct 24, 2022 10:56

According to LeSoir, apparently Proximus is planning to make their internet services (Proximus and Scarlet) even more expensive next May. Does the Belgian government still hold 53.1% of Proximus shares? That could go a long way in explaining the high rates and lack of less expensive competition. As soon a lower-priced operator appears, they get bought up by Proximus or by Telenet, the only 2 real internet providers in the country.

Nov 3, 2022 10:52

I just checked.
The Belgian state does own 53.1% of Proximus shares and 56.11% of voting rights. (
This may go a long way in explaining the high rates and lack of independent competitors in the Belgian internet market.

Nov 3, 2022 11:05