Friday, 26 June 2015 06:11

Australian broadband ranking slips – again Featured

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Australia has dropped two spots, to a lowly 47th position, in average peak connection speeds. But we do better in our overall average– we remain in 42nd position.

Content delivery provider Akamai has delivered its latest quarterly ‘State of the Internet’ report, which had become a widely used global benchmark of relative connection speeds between countries.

Australia continues to perform poorly. While the Government continues to struggle with the implementation of its so-called ‘multi-technology mix’ broadband’, more and more countries are adopting fibre to the premises and moving past us.

Australia is down to 50th position globally in terms of broadband connectivity above 4Mbps, down a massive six positions in only a quarter. Things are getting better – slowly – in absolute terms, but in relative terms we just keep getting worse.

Australia remains in 42bs position in terms of overall average speeds, behind such technological powerhouses as Romania and Slovakia. The percentage of broadband connectivity (above 4 Mbps) was recorded at 71% of all connections – representing a 4.1 % increase quarter-on-quarter and a 29% increase year-on-year. But it is not enough – other countries are doing better.

When it comes to high broadband connectivity (above 10Mbps) we are ranked in 44th position globally, down three positions from the previous quarter. The percentage of connectivity recorded above 10 Mbps in Australia was 17%, up 8.8% quarter-on-quarter, and 60% year-on-year.

But there is good news in mobile connection speeds. Australia recorded the highest average peak mobile connection speeds globally in Q1 2015, recording speeds of 149.3 Mbps. The UK came in second, recording average peak mobile connection speeds of 90.9Mbps. Australia also recorded the highest mobile broadband adoption rates in the Asia Pacific region at 96%. Denmark led the global pack, on 98%.

Data and graphics from the report can be found on the Akamai State of the Internet site (registration required).

“We saw generally positive results across all of the key metrics during the first quarter of 2015,” said David Belson, editor of the report. “The increase in global broadband speeds demonstrates an ongoing commitment to higher standards.

“While connectivity will continue to differ across many regions, we see the highest broadband speeds in countries and regions with high population densities and strong government backing or support, as well as those that foster competition among Internet providers.” What does that say about Australia?

In the first quarter of 2015, the global average connection speed for the first time reached 5 Mbps, a 10% increase over the previous quarter. Quarterly global average connection speeds among the top ten countries all remained well above 10 Mbps, and six of the top ten had average speeds above 15 Mbps, as Ireland (17.4 Mbps), Sweden (15.8 Mbps) and the Netherlands (15.3 Mbps) joined South Korea (23.6 Mbps), Hong Kong (16.7 Mbps) and Japan (15.2 Mbps) in exceeding this benchmark in the first quarter.

Globally, a total of 131 qualifying countries or regions saw average connection speeds increase in the first quarter, with growth rates ranging from 128% in Fiji (6.2 Mbps) to a modest 0.4% in Japan (15.2 Mbps). Year-over-year changes were consistently positive among the top ten, with Ireland (17.4 Mbps), Norway (14.1 Mbps) and Sweden (15.8 Mbps) all posting yearly increases of more than 30%.

For the first time, the ‘State of the Internet’ is reporting on the percentage of IP addresses connecting to Akamai at average speeds of above 25 Mbps, the new benchmark broadband speed adopted by the US Federal Communications Commission in January 2015. Globally, 4.6% of unique IP addresses connected to Akamai at average connection speeds of at least 25 Mbps, a 12% increase over the previous quarter.

Similar to the 10 Mbps and 15 Mbps metrics, South Korea led the world in 25 Mbps broadband adoption, with a 31% adoption rate. Its rate was nearly double that of second-place Hong Kong (17% adoption).

In the latest report 62 countries or regions qualified for inclusion in the mobile section. The UK had the fastest average connection speed at 20.4 Mbps, a 28% increase from the previous quarter. Denmark was again in second place, at 10 Mbps. Vietnam had the lowest average connection speed, at 1.3 Mbps.

Average peak mobile connection speeds again spanned an extremely broad range in the first quarter, from 149.3 Mbps in Australia down to 8.2 Mbps in Indonesia. A total of four countries – Australia (149.3 Mbps), Japan (126 Mbps), Singapore (116.4 Mbps) and Thailand (105.4 Mbps) – posted average peak speeds above 100 Mbps, up from two countries in the fourth quarter.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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