A Quarter Of The World Has Faster Internet Than Australia

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.



    I can't believe how behind we are. There is no excuse for us not having a world class broadband network. I still can't see why our 4G networks are first class but broadband has taken a back seat. And I'm not going to see the NBN in my area till 2019.

      there's plenty of excuses. Telstra owning all the infrastructure, the hugely spaced out population, the lack of consumer driven demand.

      4G is driven by smartphone culture, there's multiple networks to choose from, and we pay first class prices for first class speed.

      Even if you do get the NBN in 2019, there is no guarantee it will be any better than what you have now, especially if it is Turnbull's disgracefully obsolete Fibre to the Node.

      We have averaged speeds in excess of South Koreas for many years, We get around 30Mbps or better download speeds on Australian speed tests,.

      What annoys me is our approximately 3 to 4Mbps slow upload speed and the poor results I get when I run overseas speed tests, example to Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
      We only get 21.49Mbps download, 1.48Mbps upload with a ping of 258ms.

      Although when compared to the statistical results used in this article, our slow overseas results still puts us up in 2nd place, even beating Hong Kong (20.1Mbps).

    How will the LNP spin this so that it seems we in fact do have super fast broadband? Who'd have thunk that the ALP's original NBN plan was right all along?

    You know you're struggling when even New Zealand has faster internet than you.

      Our home has for many years had faster internet than that claimed as the average for New Zealand. It has actually been faster than the average for North Korea as well.
      We have averaged around 30Mbps (usually ranging between 28 and 32) download, but only 3Mbps upload for over a decade, and this is without opting for the high speed cable plan as we are pensioners (which would increase it up to a maximum download speed of 100Mbps). Just did another speed test at 11.20am and as normal we achieved a 10 second ping, 30.87Mbps download and 2.3Mbps upload (upload speed does vary quite a bit from very slow at about mid 1's up to around 4Mbps, but usually around between 2's to low 3's), which puts our almost mid-weekday download speed well into first place by a significant margin and well in excess of the claimed average Australian speed.
      What are your average speeds?
      At the moment these claimed statistics are skewed, just like all statistics can be manipulated and usually are.
      You need to know what information was used (example - in medical tests, some results are removed as not relevant when all results should be included as they are all relevant, this is normally done to improve the test results in the companies favour), how the information was sourced (example - what questions were asked) and what information was omitted or completely overlooked to achieve these results.
      To apply a analogy - weather forecasting (particularly long range - weekly and beyond) is done using a lot of statistics and a large selection of relevant information (example - Doppler radar) and even when combining all they can, the forecasts can still be incorrect, all because they do not have all the necessary information and a complete understanding of how to correctly interpret it. So for the immediate future we will still have weather forecasts for clear, sunny days which instead turn out to be cloudy and raining.
      What should be taken into account with all these average internet speed claims, is the population to land size ratio. Compare the countries in the top 10 - example Latvia with a population of about 2.4M and a land area of 64,589 km² or South Korea with over 50million (2016) with a land area of only 100,210 km2 (38,691 sq mi) and Norway 385,252 km² (148,747 sq mi) and a population of 5,213,985..Then compare this to Australia with a population of less than half that of first place South Korea (24.3 million in 2016) but with a land area of almost 77 times larger at 7,692,024 km2 (2,969,907 sq mi).
      We have, by a long way, a poor ratio when compared to those of the other countries and this then creates huge a cost, logistics, and distance burden. To some degree, the speed of change within technology also creates decision making problems .

        We are of the lucky few helping the nations average creep up out of the gutter but there are many poor souls out there who can not get a decent internet connection to their home. For instance, we visited a farmstay in Nelson Bay recently and they trialled ADSL with disastrous results. A poor farmer who relies heavily on running his business via the internet to keep travel costs down had to resort to mobile data with exhorbitant excess usage costs as an only means of reliable internet. Funny thing is, he's from New Zealand and said it was so much better back home.

    The "according to Akamai" link seems to point to a giz article about NASA?

      Whoooops I guess I just love rockets a bit too much

      (fixed! ta)

    What's the obsession with being the top? What makes us think that we should have the FASTEST in the world? We're in the top 25%! That's a mark of 75%. So 75% of people around the world have slower than us, I think we're doing pretty good.
    How in the world is that "bleak"? Bleak would be if 90% had better than us. Geez, when would it not be "bleak"? When 20% have better than us? 15%? 10%? 5%? What rating do you want us to have until it's not "bleak"?

      1) Because we now no longer have what's considered internationally to be the bare minimum for broadband.

      2) Because we might be in "the top 25%" but, relative to our neighbours and/or socioeconomic equals and competitors, we're not doing that well. Awesome, we've beaten countries like Namibia and Nigeria and the rest of the "third world".

        what do you mean we don't mean the 'bare minimum' for broadband?

        Are you going off Average or Peak? Cause even South Korea doesn't meet the 'bare minimum' on average.

          Averages are always flawed because they are thrown out by outliers on either end of the scale (dial up on one end and gigabit on the other).

          WRT average peak, we still declined 8.2% QoQ. We're up YoY, but of course we are as the rollout of the nbn ramps up. Problem is, average peak doesn't count the fact that many of these new users on nbn connections can only access those peak speeds once in a 24 hour period, at 3am. In that regard, average speed is a better indicator, but there we had the second lowest increase of any other country in the region.

          In any case, speed as such isn't as important as consistent and reliable speed, which unfortunately these Akamai reports don't really show. Between expensive CVC (congestion) and poor copper on FTTN networks, the future doesn't look particularly bright.

          Also, FWIW, South Korea is the only country in the world that does meet the 25Mbps average connection speed.

        And unlike Nigeria and Namibia I don't have to live in fear of civil war, military junta, sharia laws, alarmingly high poverty and crime rate. But yeah at least they have fast Internet.

          Surely that means we should have better internet, on account of us not needing to spend time worrying about civil war, military juntas, sharia law [lol], alarmingly high poverty and crime rates?

            Or maybe we are spending money solving those problems.

              You mean like how we're spending drastically more money than the Coalition promised to deliver an NBN that's drastically inferior to the original plan, and not by the agreed 2016 completion date?

      Guys, just read the stats correctly. 9.6mbps it's an average temperature in the hospital. For example, I have NBN of 50mbps, another guy has dodgy ADSL2+ of 3.5mbps. In average, we have 26.75mbps. In the same way, 9.6mbps means there is a limited number of users who have good NBN, the rest has dodgy obsolete outdated ADSL and it's versions.
      The REAL state is much worse. If we take into account that in metropolitan areas people stil use ADSL2+ - it's the Australian biggest shame. There is no excuse Guys.
      In Ukraine, which is developing country, in the majority (>90%) of metropolitan areas people have 100mbps full duplex connectivity and more with no metered data. The cost starts from 5 AUD per month. No issue to store all your fragile information in the cloud. It uploads with the speed of LAN. Compare to how you upload it via ADSL2+. The only provider which offers a bit better upload speed due to Annex M is Internode. Up to 2mbps. God, I'm missing Ukrainian Internet so much!!!
      Do not be blind, Australia, despite a lot of good and excellent things, has the Internet, I'd say, the worst I've ever seen so far.

        You hit the nail on the head - these are statistics and can cause all sorts of problems when reading them. Examples of how the problems occur - What questions were asked? How were the results compiled? What information was used or omitted? How to best interpret the results?
        They also need to factor into the stats things like the population to area ratio. We have approximately half the population, but 77 times the area when comparing to South Korea. And the NBN rollout has yet to include our Sydney suburb (about 15km from the centre of the city) no matter who is in government.
        So if the NBN is being rolled out to less populated areas first, our average speed across all of Australia will be stay where it is for a while longer. Then factor in how many people will pay for the faster plans, may keep is there for even longer.
        We have averaged around 30Mbps download (fairly constant no matter what time of day) for years now and been happy with that (todays speed test at 11.30am shows a 10 sec ping, 30.52Mbps download and 1.72Mbps upload), but I have always hated our approximate 2.5Mbps upload (averaged from about 1.5 to 4Mbps depending on time of day).
        And then looking at the NBN plans shows that unless you paying for the superfast speeds and unlimited services, it is still worse than ours.

        We have had cable to the house ever since 2000 when Optus kindly had a free set-up offer to change from the ADSL system. They do have high speed (100Mbps) plans on offer, but as pensioners, it is a expense we cannot afford and don't need, things download fast enough and we have unlimited everything. Especially since the cheaper plan (30Mbps) works so well - it beats South Koreas average speed.

    Thank you, Malcolm. Well done, Tony. Great job guys.

    Because I put a document in dropbox, onedrive and walk out the office to access it on the run and it is still hasn't finished uploading. What ever our rating is it's not good enough.

      Pfft who needs upload right? You have plenty of downstream bandwidth via old telephone cables! /sarcasm

    So we have faster internet than three quarters of the world?
    That's pretty good if you ask me.

      But it's not fast enough for me to stream 4K content to my HD TV without having to wait a whole minute for it to buffer a little first... My time is precious!! /sarcasm

    We're also ranked 235th in the world for Population Density, 6th in The world for Average income according to OECD figures and also a country that is quite far away from most of the world's hubs and undersea cables...

    I'd love to see figures based on money spent on infrastructure per person in Australia compared to other countries, I believe that would be a little more enlightening.

      As far as i can work out, 'the last mile' (the main arguement put forward against FTTP) does not run from one side of the country to the other.

      Hang on, maybe that's what 'a country mile' is.

      In any case, couldn't you make the arguement that good communications infrastructure is necessary to overcome 'the tyranny of distance' rather then the other way around.

      The NBN (nbn) will need that 'last mile' upgraded at great expense in the not too distant future... but after this debacle, who's going to brave enough to put their hand for that (and who's going to pay... the Coalition maybe)?

      At least it's a very clear example of how damaging to the nation, politics for the sake of politics can be.

        Distance is only one factor but of course it is a big factor, the last mile might not be being upgraded but there are many many more miles in between those nodes, far more miles than other countries have to contend with.

        There's also the point that in a lot of Asian Countries, the ones that are near the top of the speed lists you can run fibre from a node to a building that contains a lot of people, thusly that last mile is being shared amongst more people making it more affordable. Then they can run cables from a basement not too far away to a WiFi router that can be shared amongst a few people and still get great speeds.

        The reason I said it would be interesting to see money spent on infrastructure, specifically for Internet in this case on a per head basis would be to see what the countries at the top had to spend vs what we had to spend. I wouldn't be at all surprised if those countries had to spend significantly less per person for those higher speeds than what we have to spend.

        This article is asking why we're so far down the list and putting the blame on "Politics" without actually investigating what it costs for us vs the majority of this countries that are ahead of us. If it was cheap the government would have just done it, but they've already spend billions on this project and to get the same speeds they'd have to spend billions more which would need to be pulled from other budgets so where do we plan those billions from? Education? Health? Defence? What we decide is worth reducing in return for faster Internet speeds? Other than the politicians pensions.... But let's face it, they won't reduce that golden parachute!

    I read this statement and it put a smile on my dial - "Akamai now says broadband takes 25Mbps, and we're a long way from that."
    Last century (in 1999), we went from dial up modem to having cable to the house fitted for free and have had no problems ever since. Our house has been getting around 30Mbps for many years now (and we still have NOT upgraded to a high speed cable plan due to being pensioners, plus our plan gives us bundled unlimited home phone and internet at a excellent price on a plan no longer listed). I did a speed test this afternoon (about 3.30pm) and got 29.85Mbps download and 3.63Mbps for upload when I first read this article. Just reloaded the test and copy/ pasted the results Test run on 13/01/2017 @ 01:09 AM Your Line Speed 30.65Mbps (30,650 kbps) Your Download Speed 3.78 MB/s (3,781 KB/s) and 10ms Ping.
    Both of these are faster than South Korea's first place speed rating.
    So we are not complaining. :-)

    Australia's biggest problem that never seems to be mentioned in the statistics or the article, is that we have a rather large country to low population than a large number of countries rated higher than us. Thus giving false results. The expense and difficulty in supplying everyone with high speed internet is huge.
    For example - South Korea's population is over 50million (2016) with a land area of only 100,210 km2 (38,691 sq mi) and compare this to Australia with a population of less than half (24.3 million in 2016) but with a land area of 7,692,024 km2 (2,969,907 sq mi).

    Less than half the population but a land area over 76 times as expansive!!!

    Now factor in the work time to put in lines, planning and expense over this vastly bigger country and it puts a totally different perspective on the internet speed rating we have.

    These charts should take this into consideration when they come up with their statistical results. We all should be aware that statistics can be manipulated to show preference towards a sought-after result. I spent about 15 minutes going though searches looking for a descent comparison that included it as a ratio of population to land area and found none. If you do know of some, please let me know.

    What is worst of all, the normal NBN fibre optic plans don't get much faster than our speed tests with the slowest, but best value plans running at 12Mbps download/ 1Mbps upload which is about 3 times slower than ours.
    And once the NBN gets rolled out, how much will the over 50Mbps plans with a unlimited data allowance cost??

    Last edited 13/01/17 2:35 am

      For a country with similar stats to Australia just lookup the stats on population/land size and internet for Canada. The pop density is slightly higher than Australia but their lands size is larger, they probably have harsher environmental conditions than Australia in terrain/weather. Their currency value is similar to AUD.

    I live in a student dormitory in Germany and I have 100Mbit upload and download speed. I heard the newer buildings even have Gbit in every room. A few weeks ago a friend asked me for the first season of Westworld and I uploaded 17GB in half an hour to OneDrive...

    If you ever get the chance to travel and see more of the world that what Australian news shows you, you'll figure it out. Our economy looks good on a spreadsheet, but ultimately it relies on only two things: providing raw materials for more industrial nations, and inflating prices to pump up virtual economic sectors such as debt and finance. We don't really have a strong industrial base, and that's what pushes real national growth. If you don't have lots of people creating things, you can't have the best toys. So no, we won't be able to keep up with the more industrial (and industrious) nations when it comes to technological advancements like decent communications.

    I suppose I'm just grateful for what I have. Sure it could be better, but its good to remember that only around 45% of the planet actually has internet access. My speed's not to bad compared to the other 55%.

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