We're falling (further) behind, guys. The latest State of the Internet report from Web giant Akamai, released in the dying days of 2016, paints a pretty bleak picture of how our nation's internet connectivity is beginning to further lag behind other competing countries around our region and the world.
Akamai, one of the world's largest content delivery networks, is in the business of making sure bits and bytes travel around the planet as quickly and efficiently as possible. It has a vested interest in worldwide internet being fast, ubiquitous and low-cost. It regularly publishes its State of the Internet report once per quarter to catalogue any changes in international internet competitiveness, and talk through any major events or outages that had a material effect on internet speeds.
The State of the Internet report for the third quarter of 2016, released on December 21 last year, sees Australia's average internet speed sitting at 9.6Mbps, putting us just underneath the threshold to be considered a broadband nation — if we'd been taking that test two years ago. Akamai now says broadband takes 25Mbps, and we're a long way from that.
Australia is 50th in the world for average Internet access speeds, according to Akamai. A quarter of all 196 countries in the world, developed and developing, have faster 'net.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is eclipsed by neighbours like New Zealand (40th, 11.3Mbps) and Thailand (36th, 11.6Mbps) as well as the more widely recognised world leaders like Singapore (6th, 18.2Mbps), Hong Kong (2nd, 20.1Mbps) and the undisputed leader in South Korea (1st, 26.3Mbps).
In an year where China will gain at least 100 million new fibre to the home (FTTH, often called fibre to the premises or FTTP) connections and the Philippines government has invested in a new department to roll out high-speed wireless and fibre throughout the country, Australia's 'net speed improvements have stagnated. Of the region, Australia's 23 per cent year on year improvement is the smallest apart from Japan, which has an average internet connection speed twice as fast at 18Mbps.
28 per cent of Australians can access the internet at speeds above 10Mbps, the speed previously referred to as Akamai as broadband — before the CDN changed its definition of broadband in late 2015 to 25Mbps to better reflect the requirements of modern streaming and larger media files.