With all the talk of ISPs selling information I figured I would take a look at exactly what kind of internet speeds we get compared to what ISPs are giving their customers around the world. It should be noted that you’re going to have extreme broadband penetration in highly urbanized countries like Singapore and South Korea, leading to very high average speeds.
While this tells some of the story, it’s important to keep in mind that most of the measurements come from urban areas. In the U.S., many rural areas also have decent access to broadband if you are in or near a town. Rural areas in countries like Bolivia are places where you’d be lucky to get a cell phone signal. This is a great chart to look at to get a good idea about how fast you can expect the internet to be in a certain country, but the speeds can vary greatly within national borders.
As you can tell, the European countries (green) have relatively high speeds, ranging from Italy’s 6.5 Mb/s to Sweden’s 17.4 Mb/s.
South Korea has the fastest average speed of all at 20.5 Mb/s while Paraguay and Venezuela have the slowest at 1.5 Mb/s. It’s safe to say that speeds are likely even slower on average in places that didn’t have enough data to figure up a reliable average.
Most of the slowest speeds can be found in South America (red) which doesn’t quite have the communications infrastructure you’d find in Europe or most of North America.
The global average is 5.1 Mb/s, which isn’t a big deal if you are trying to load a super-simple HTML page, but attempting to stream Game of Thrones on HBO Now with a shared connection might drive you crazy.
Average internet speed is one way of measuring internet connectivity, especially since most satellite internet providers are notoriously slow, preventing those who need internet for their work from working from home in rural areas. Customer service satisfaction is another, but in many places outside of major cities in the U.S., you’re down to one or two options (or satellite internet).