Which Country Has The Fastest Internet, And How Does Australia Compare?

Akamai ranks countries based on their broadband speeds every quarter. In its latest report for Q1 2013, the top-ranking country has an average peak connection speed of 54.1Mb/s. Which country do you think that would be? Hint: Its the third time in a row to be in first place.

Did you guess South Korea? Close. The country that gave us "Gangnam Style" tops the list when it comes to average connection speeds, but the best average peak connection speeds are actually found in the city-state of Hong Kong. It was first to break the 50Mb/s threshold in Q3 2012, and at that speed you could download an entire feature film in just a few minutes.

Australia sits way, way lower down the list with an average peak speed of 22.8mb/s, which puts it at number 30. According to the latest report, average peak connection speeds went up by 5.3 per cent for an overall 41 per cent increase since this time last year, but average connection speeds in Australia dropped 2.5 per cent since last quarter to 4.3Mb/s.

Despite NBN Co supposedly having "commenced or completed" fibre network construction in 758,000 premises [PDF] earlier this month, Australia was only one of three countries to decline in high broadband (10Mb/s or greater) adoption, down 13 per cent since the previous quarter. Apparently, just 4.1 per cent of Australia has access to average connection speeds that are at or above 10Mb/s, which contrasts with South Korea and Hong Kong at 52 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

According to the report, only 38 per cent of Australians have access to internet speeds at or above 4MB/s. If you compare that with Hong Kong's 71 per cent adoption rate, or South Korea's 86 per cent adoption rate, it's clear that our speeds are still catching up to much of the first world, including countries in North America and Europe. Clearly, the the NBN hasn't made much of a dent yet.

[Akamai via Bloomberg]

Leslie Horn contributed to this report. Picture: Shutterstock/everything possible



    2.5mb ADSL2 rubbish here... C'mon NBN! Aparently construction is meant to start June 2013.

    Last edited 24/01/13 9:45 am

      try having 20kbps... on adsl

        lol i have 20kbps aswell but its 2016

      Nbn wont do shit, right now my internet speed is almost as bad as north korea...

    My work speed is 92MBps/74MBps fibre (Powertel) and home 14MBps/1MBps (TPG) which has never failed me. A damn sight better than i ever got in the UK. Without looking i guess the UK are below Aus ?

    Those 758k premises NBN installed are in the areas where no broadband exist before.Chances are the people who lives there have no idea what to do with it for a while.

      That's not actually true - apart from Tasmania, the first 5 sites that were launched on NBN were Townsville, Armidale (NSW), Kiama, Brunswick and Willunga - all of which already had access to broadband, and in some instances cable speed internet. I travelled to each of these sites, and actually met a lot of people who were very excited about it - doctors developing teleconsult sites, small business owners, elderly peopling wanting to Skype their grandchildren OS - this seems like an elitist statement, in which you assume people who don't live close to the CBD of a major capital have no use/education about faster internet speeds

    Australia lags behind a lot of the world when it comes to technology. I mean, come on, we still have analog TV/radio. We should of had a NBN style network 13 years ago.

    Last edited 24/01/13 12:51 pm

      Replaced by wifi? How do you think the signal gets to those wifi stations in a timely fashion? Possibly via fibre?

      Several things: Analog radio, even though vastly older tech, still has several advantages over digital radio, and IMO won't be phased out entirely in the near future (like analog TV is due to at the end of the year). A cabled network, even though a pain in the arse to build in a country as large and sprawled as Australia (probably the main reason why it hasn't been done yet and can't be done quickly and cheaply) is better than wi-fi. The fact that we still have terrestrial wireless TV is pretty retarded. You don't need a wireless connection for a TV that sits in your living room. Wireless should be reserved for truly mobile applications. The internet, for a large part of how it's used, doesn't need to be completely wireless/mobile.


        I agree, this is the most logical thing I have heard regarding our future communication needs. But since TV was founded 20 odd years before they went to the moon (which in itself used primitive technology) the cost and magnitude of replacing the system to a cabled tv is beyond the finances of our huge Country with tiny population. So Wireless it is.

      WiFi will never be able to provide high volume data streams. Ever. You cannot run a company or stream HD Video over WiFi for masses of people. Get this stupid overused reply out of your head.

      Did you notice the crazy opposition to NBN? NOW? Can you imagine if we tried 13 years ago (why did you pick 13 anyway?)?!? Unrealistic and unworkable. Tha'ts not how politics work. We have the NBN because K Rudd won the election with this as his platform. That's how you get things done in a democracy.

      Last edited 24/01/13 10:45 am

      so the speed of light is outdated?

        Copper wires, Broadcast radio and OPtic fiber all conduct the signal at or pretty close to the speed of light (remembering that the speed of light in a fibre is slower than light speed in a vacuum...)

        It is not the speed which is important but the switching rate (which is the reason we have "high efficiency" computer chips, nothing to do (really) with low energy consumption, but the transients in switching voltage levels....)

        Light speed was the standard a long time ago.... with Marconi's first transmission, and even earlier with semaphore and solar reflector transmission systems remember it is the switching rate that governs how much information can be conveyed....

          I was trying to make a joke of the fool that stated fibre is outdated and shouldn't used, but now you have gone and spoiled it with a real explanation.

          Appreciate it all the same :)

            (Wasn't sure which Light speed you were meaning.... Copper or Optic.... lol.)

      IEEE 802.11 (z) will be subspace communication which allows instantaneous transmission and reception of data. Come on people we all know fibre is just a temporary solution.

        Much faster, that is until subspace becomes saturated with 802.11z traffic and the max usable bandwidth still ends up around 4Mbps.

          Sorry - Should have stipulated "theoretical maximum". Why do idiot politicans believe the wi-fi hype?

      Fiber > WiFi.

      Clearly someone gets all his knowledge from outdated politicians.

      "By the time the NBN is fully rolled out fiber, which is all ready a outdated tech, will be replaced by wifi."
      Fiber outdated tech? My god do you have ANY idea how DUMB your statement is? You do realise a single fiber can transfer terabits per second. You do not have to install new fiber. Just upgrade the endpoints. So once fiber is in, it is the *MOST SCALABLE TECH WE CURRENTLY HAVE*.

      Wifi LOL. Hilarious! I presume you are referring to 4G? 4G is suffering contention issues already and it is ONLY BRAND NEW. Morons like you should move out of the way of the NBN and any communications infrastructure and let the people who know what they are doing fix the problems.

    If only 4.1% of housholds are bothering with decent speeds, what is the point of the NBN? If my 3G connection was more reliable it would be perfectly adequate.

      No doubt there were owners of fine carriages and sturdy mares who felt the same way about spending on a road network.

      Who pondered the need for a national eletricity network when parafin is so pleniful.

      And why build an expensive canal when the same journey can be made with just a modicum of patience?

      Taxpayer money on a series of pipes just to move poo? Ludicrous.

      And remember books? Gramaphones? Valves? Hindsight? Good times. Good times.

        A very poor analogy. We are not talking about new technology, just incremental improvement on an existing one that competition in a healthy market would undoubtedly have brought us anyway. After all, we got to where we are now without the government having to step in.

        Some of your others are hilarious - civilisation has been spending the equivalent of billions on efflluent management since Roman times. Roads are generally at least a decade behind the real and measurable need for them and electricity does a lot more than lights. You don't see the government spending billions on roads that nobody uses (that's what PPP toll roads are for), yet they are willing to throw tens of billions at something that only 4.1% of the population is interested in.

          No one uses PPP roads? That makes the first P "pointless" then? Or perhaps Govt has become obsessed with the user-pays model and is willing to let the public pay exponentially more for services.

          The "market" couldn't get it's act together rolling out cable 20 years ago. If you're not in the "easy to service" part of the map you're pretty much screwed.

      If only 4.1% of people are driving from Penrith to Sydney CBD in less than 60 mins, what's the point of motorways? If only 4.1% of people are seen by a doctor within an hour of arriving at the emergency room, what's the point of hospitals?

      You can't base infrastructure spending on the assumption of current consumption remaining constant - or even being reflective of actual demand. People can't utilise what they can't get. The face that 95% of Australians can't access "decent" speeds doesn't mean they don't need to access it.

      I can't access anywhere near those speeds in my new flat in the outer suburbs of Sydney (I'm lucky if I can make ADSL1 speeds), so as a result, I can't access services I would normally use - like YouTube, or TED, or ABC Local Radio for bushfire updates (yes, the radio reception is non-existent, and 3G reception is unreliable at best). Doesn't mean I'm happy to DIAF.

        "If only 4.1% of people are driving from Penrith to Sydney CBD in less than 60 mins, what's the point of motorways?"
        This might be a valid argument if the government had spent 40-odd billion on the M4 but they didn't spend a penny, they got a private company to build it at no cost to taxpayers. That's good governence in my book.

        "If only 4.1% of people are seen by a doctor within an hour of arriving at the emergency room, what's the point of hospitals?"
        This would actually be an argument for more hospitals. The argument against a hospital would be if only 4.1% of the population within it's area ever used it and the rest were happy to use lesser services (GP, medical centre) or go somewhere else.

        "You can't base infrastructure spending on the assumption of current consumption remaining constant."
        Of course not but you don't need the government to step in and fix it, either. We have a robust, proftable and highly competitive telecommunications market that has served us very well until now. Why should the government suddenly decide that it needs to take control and waste tens of billions of our money? They didn't need to do it to get the telcos to roll out 4G services, did they? Or ADSL or ADSL2 or ADSL2+ or cable or anything else. So why now?

        Last edited 25/01/13 12:08 pm

          Can I ask, do you live in a metropolitan area? One might assume that you do, because you appear to be unaware that generally speaking, people in rural areas of Australia have had, and still do have terrible internet access. Due to Australia's large land area, it is not in the interest of private telcos to invest in expensive infrastructure for the very little gain, if any, they would receive from a small town, geographically distant from everywhere else. If delivering broadband to 100% of australian premises was in the interest of the telcos, they would have done it long ago. Anyway, which telco would do it? Telstra? and then what, they would own everything and charge ridiculous amounts to other ISP's and customers for access to their fibre network? Sounds like a monopoly in the making and quite an unfair playing field for ISPs..

          The motorists using the roads aren't taxpayers? Rather than spend $40b on infrastructure the Govt will have the taxpayer fork out several times that in tolls - for decades!

          "They didn't need to do it to get the telcos to roll out 4G services, did they? Or ADSL or ADSL2 or ADSL2+ or cable or anything else"

          4G is available in limited areas of some capital cities only, through any non-Telstra carrier. There are no plans to exapnd their services to regional areas beyond possibly some major regional centres - though ACMA (i.e. the Australian Government) is trying to offer incentives to do so. Telstra's network is made possible through the work they did in building the CDMA network, paid for by the Australian Government. The ADSL roll-outs all were minor extensions of services delivered via the copper network, which was paid for by the Australian Government.

          On the M4 - the overall cost was $235M according to the SMH in 1992, shortly after it was built. The NSW government has paid $962M with the toll comepnsation scheme, according to the NSW Auditor General in 2010.

          On hospitals, your original argument was that current use reflects demand and should dictate infrastructure spending ("If only 4.1% of housholds are bothering with decent speeds, what is the point of the NBN"). The article says " just 4.1 per cent of Australia has access to average connection speeds that are at or above 10Mb/s" - not "bothering with", but "has access too".

          In terms of "bothering with", the current rate for NBN sign-ups is about 25%, which sounds low, but compares with 2% within 4 years of service provision in the UK during their fibre roll-out. It also can be seen in the context of a conversation (non-NBN-related) with someone I had today at an Australia Day BBQ, who was telling me that when they bought their first home in the 1970's, it was still not unusual for a home to not bother connecting to the phone network for 6-24 months - it was considered a bit of luxury. In fact, the Australian copper network finished it's roll-out in 1987. That's right, the last person to get a phone service in Australia did so the same time The Simpsons first went on air. Perhaps consider that before denouncing the NBN within its first 2 years. Or research some facts to back-up your (fairly easily disprovable) opinions - it takes about 20 minutes.

          Last edited 26/01/13 1:50 pm

      Except that 3G is not cost efficient for users who eat 200gb a month. Or buisiness users who eat terabytes a month. Thsi is an investment in the country that will last generations. Fiber will not become obsolete. It is light moving down cables. As technology moves forward, we will be able draw more and more bandwidth from the NBN while only having to upgrade certain areas of the network.

        but , no sooner are the switches installed but they are outdated... these will need replacement regularly over the years...

        Any idea of how many nodes, relays and boosters there are in the network....

        At least no-one will dig up the wire to sell for scrap metal. (well not more than once per looser...)

        But 3G is not the only alternative. It's not even the best alternative. I simply used it as an example.

        Of course fibre (note spelling) is better but why did the government have to stump up the cash for it? Why couldn't the telcos have rolled it out themselves? After all, it's only 15 years or so since Optus started rolling out it's copper and they managed without tens of billions from the government.

      3g is enough for today for alot of people but as higher resolutions become more common faster conections will be needed

      Can't tell if serious, or @motormouth constantly trolling...

        Making idiots think requires a certain approach (and rarely succeeds).

          Well then, lets open up your brain and try to figure out how to make it think... @motormouth

          Last edited 25/01/13 9:53 pm

      Think bigger.

      4.1% of households are bothering with decent speeds, right now. But when households have the ability to have their phone and tv through internet, as well as education and doctors, they will adapt and the average usage will explode.

        Where is your evidence? Don't we have all of that now? Can't you Skype your doctor? You can certainly get Foxtel through the copper network, in laughable HD, and learn anything you want via existing internet access methods. What you're really saying is that services will pop up to take advantage of increased bandwidth (and gullible morons) but that is not the same thing at all. It's a "build it and they will come" mentaility which is fine for private enterprise but not for my taxes. And let's be clear on the amount here, it is roughly $3000 for every tax payer. You might think it is worth 3 grand of your own money to get faster internet access but I sure as hell don't and, judging by the poor take up of current high-speed internet, I am likely in the majority.

          I agree. $3000 of my taxes to give someone else a faster and more stable internet connecion is just wrong. i live in a town of 13000 people adsl1 is all the exchange here will handle, and then is only enough ports for 12% of the households. I had to wait 4 months after paying the connection fees for a port to become available !!!! according to the speed test i have a 7m/b connection, but nothing from anywhere other than iinet's servers will come down at fastest 100kps. WTF?
          this is why i want out of australia......

      That 4.1% are pioneers investing in the network, so the day the average Joe needs the bandwidth, which is inevitable, the service will be cheaper. Plenty of new technology is released with a why bother response, and only a few buy it, with little need. Then the day comes when people need it.

        Why is it inevitable? I reckon my internet usage has probably dropped off quite a bit over the last 5 years or so and that's a trend I can see continuing as I use up the resources I find useful.

      "Apparently, just 4.1 per cent of Australia has access to average connection speeds that are at or above 10Mb/s"
      It does not say 4.1% are bothering with it. Only 4.1% *can get it at all even if they wanted to get it*. Comprehension problem yes?

        That's not how I read it. I only have access to 3G because that is all I have signed up for. If it is talking about "peak connection speeds", you have to think they are talking about actual usage, not theoretical usage, wouldn't you? Given that, I think my interpretation is the valid one. After all, simple ADSL can offer 12Mbits/s for those close enough to the DSLAM, ADSL2+ double that. I find it hard to believe that only 4.1% of the population fits into those categories, don't you?

    Its alot easier to create a fast network when your land mass isn't that big. But good that we're at least doing something about it.

    100Mb (Optus cable) here. NBN doesnt really concern me, at least til I move out of Metro areas in a few years.

      Cable is shared. And I believe it's inherently not secure, you can packet sniff all the other users of cable taht are in the same neighbourhood.


      100Mbps cable here too (Telstra), but I'm eagerly awaiting the NBN. My download speeds are great, but uploads are still limited to a pathetic 2Mbps.

    I think it's hilarious that now with 4G, I get 30mbps speeds on my phone, but my internet connection at home only goes as far as 12mbps which is completely wired. While 12 is sufficient for not I really wish they would hurry up that NBN.
    Then again, maybe not. Providers will most likely charge you the equivalent of a small car.

    Hopefully, when the NBN is everywhere, the providers in AUS will see sense and start heavily bringing down the price of normal connections and give us all unlimited plans.
    (That's what they are doing in Europe at the moment. Only 2 providers on the nbn there, charging u shitloads of money, so all the cable providers upped their services and became cheaper too)

      except compare the latency of your 30mbs phone and 12mbs wired internet connection...latency is a factor that no one considers and is just as important as raw data speed!!!

      I hate the labour govt with a passion but the NBN is something this country sorely needs

      Then again, maybe not. Providers will most likely charge you the equivalent of a small car.

      Have you LOOKED at any plans? I pay $100 for ADSL2 (at 9Mbps max) + line rental and 200GB. For the NBN, I could get 50Mbps and 500GB for $90.

      The only reason there's only 2 providers where you are is there aren't enough people on the NBN yet. Give it 2 years and you'll see 40 providers.

      Your 4g speed will decrease if local users increase. You must be competing with few people atm.

      Put a few hundred people with 4G devices on your tower and then tell me how good it goes.

    We need NBN to be rolled out to suburbs which have a majority of broadband users, not some suburb which doesn't even have anyone knowing what broadband is or doesn't use broadband. Such a waste I reckon.

      Although that line of thought would benefit me personally, the country's interest may be aligned with providing internet service to those who have none, rather than providing it to those who alreayd have it.

        While most people assume that connecting the bulk of the nation up first is the 'smarter' thing to do, the fact of the matter is that there are people in regional areas with connections on par to dial-up 56kbps, while people in metro areas are getting 2MBps+.

        While I would absolutely LOVE fibre, I am happy to wait a few extra years on my 9MBps connection so that less developed areas get set up. Remember, the NBN rollout is about the entire country, not just those in the cities

    Seriously, what kind of moronic country DELIBERATELY chokes their own data networks to hinder their businesses and economic advancement.

      I don't think that our government is "deliberately" trying to hinder business and the economy.

        It could be argued that our ISP models don't really facilitate such economic advancement, that they don't serve a large enough population and their resources are too geographically stretched to work like Hong Kong and South Korea.

    only 5mbps download and i'm on ADSL2+. What a rip off

      Blame physics. Nothing more you can do when you're using a copper wire that was designed to carry voice signals more than a 100 years ago.

        Spot on. We should also look at it this way. Korea and Hong Kong are tiny compared to Australia which means a lot less effort goes in to laying cables. Plus the demand is greater so therefore the return is larger.

        When it comes to Australia we have this massive chunk of land, with only 23 mil people.

        Hong Kongs population is 7mil+ South Korea is almost pushing 50mil.

        Hong Kong 1,100 km sq, South Korea 100,000 km sq, Australia 7,600,000 km sq.


        Copper, fibre etc, it all has a max transfer speed based on the distance the ACKs need to travel......

        (If you are sending it simplex, there is no real limit (switches are by far the slowest part of the system) but using duplex or half duplex, allows for those dropped packets to be detected.... This is what slows it down, with half duplex having, about half (lol) the speed of full....)

        Fortunately optic has a higher switching rate than the power electronics on copper networks... (voltage level related)

        But we have only been on copper for the last mile (or 10) for a while now... (in metro areas at least, and that covers 95% or something of the Aussie population. (ask telstra its their marketing))....

        Pretty sure most of the exchanges are and have been interconnected with fibre for years.

        The NBN is a lot of a beatup (financially especially as a country) for most of Us, it is really most beneficial for those few in the bush... (though it is more cost effective giving the real remote people (on stations not towns) fast satellite coverage.)

    In Adelaide ADSL2+ I barely reach 400kB/s

      In Adelaide I get 20Mbps. Lucky enought to live around the corner from the exchange. ADSL is all about distance.

    Love my connection, though I'm getting a free upgrade to 100Mb/s next month. I get some odd dropouts at about 4am but I think that's the innernet's way of telling me to go to bed.

    Spewing I'll be too old to really really enjoy the fruits of NBN's labour.

    But then I doubt I'll stop gaming when I'm in my 40s so YAY. Can't wait.

    I have no problems with my Telstra Cable in Brisbane. Always fast and has only dropped out once or twice in the little under a year i have had it. My speeds are usually with in 10Mbps of this mark, http://www.speedtest.net/result/2457950320.png

    NBN is set to be installed in our area for 5+years. The deal i am on with Telstra, my Cable is cheaper and just as fast as the NBN. Now only if Telstra gave out better quality modems with their cable packages.

      If you're on fibre you'll be part of the NBN. But you'll probably get better value than Telstra.

      Last edited 24/01/13 1:44 pm

        My Telstra Cable is $79 a month for 200gb download and a hard telephone line. NBN with IInet is $79 a month just for internet. So it's the same speed for the same price but you don't get a telephone line.

          Agreed, more than happy to pay this for fast access after having super slow speeds for so long. Avg 110 to 115 Mbps. http://speedtest.net/result/2562610688.png
          Until they increase the speed through fibre, i'll be sticking with Telstra Cable.

    You get what you pay for. I live in the outer east of Melbourne but still have a 114mbit/s down and 2.6mbit/s up connection. Although if I wanted to, i could also pay next to nothing a month for less than average internet :)

      Not really. I live in the western suburbs and all that's available in my area is ADSL1, I can't download higher than 200kbps, and that's paying the same price I was paying at my old house where I had cable and was downloading at 2mbps.

    Just moved from an area 110mpbs/30mbps Telstra cable to 8mbps/0.5mbps ADSL2+. Took a lot of getting used to.

      You didn't just move out of Point Cook did you?
      It took me forever to get any internet due to being in the "black hole", finally got Telstra fibre and now I'm scared to leave since I've gotten used to the speed. Worse still, if I move anywhere else in Point Cook I'll be looking at a 6 month wait for a free port on the exchange as Telstra has no plans to put in more for a rapidly expanding and sorely lacking suburb.
      Telstra told me, "there's always dial up!"

    My current connection is 115Mbps down/2.5Mbps up.
    I don't particularly care for the NBN and will only move if it's actually cheaper. My latency is also 5-10 ms, so near perfect.

    Google Fiber needs to stop pal-ling it up with Dorothy and come to Australia. As does Google Voice, Google Music and so forth.

    "Ya got any fiber?"
    "Yes. Yes we do."

    I'm 4.5km from the exchange so 5ish Mb/s is the best I'll ever get until the NBN comes.

      Same here. 4kms from the exchange, maximum stable connection of 3.5mbps ADSL2+ SUCKS BIGTIME!

    I've always been a bit confused about stated speeds & actual speeds.

    my provider (TPG, Naked ADSL2+) states my plan gives 'up to 20Mb/s' and then 'more than 50% of users reach speeds of over 10Mb/s'

    so why then, being reasonably close to the exchange, am I only getting things downloading at 100-300Kb/s?

    am I missing something?

      TPG is your answer.

    Winning on Telstra cable 54 mb/s

    I wonder which will take longer, the return of Christ or the NBN ?

    I cant wait for the NBN, 6 months ago we moved from an ADSL2 area to an ADSL1 area, oh my god its painfull. on top of that its a mobile dead zone aswell. Vodaphone gets 0% signal, my phone just doesnt work period, optus is spotty and telstra is just bearable if you walk outside.

    Its the only downside to this huge f'n house on its 17 acre property. bring on the nbn.. whooo.

    I think people need to be educated and sometimes the best way is to show them the hard facts. This is why we need the NBN:

    "The overall volume of data downloaded increased by 20% since the three months ended 31 December 2011, to 414,537 Terabytes.

    Data downloaded by fixed-line broadband accounted for 94% of all internet downloads in the three months ended 30 June 2012.

    The volume of data downloaded by fixed-line broadband increased by 21% since the three months ended 31 December 2011. Data downloaded using wireless broadband also continued to grow, recording a 9% increase compared to the three months ended 31 December 2011."
    Source: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8153.0Chapter8Jun%202012

    Also check this out: http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2012/06/14/3524848.htm

    and this: http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2012/09/18/3592785.htm

    I know some of these are abc, but they are factual, not propaganda like the Australian, or Tony Jones.

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