(Embargoed until) Wednesday 2 September 2020: Analysis of over 557m broadband speed tests worldwide has revealed the ranking of 221 countries and territories when it comes to average national network speeds. The research was designed and compiled by Cable.co.uk, and the data gathered by M-Lab, an open source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private sector companies. M-Lab is led by teams based at Code for Science and Society, New America's Open Technology Institute, Google, Princeton University's PlanetLab, and other supporting partners.
Last year, the five fastest countries had download speeds around 125 times faster than the five slowest. That gap is widening. This year the top five are 276 times faster than the five slowest. Liechtenstein tops the table at 229.98Mbps, compared to last-place South Sudan, which is 394 times slower at just 0.58Mbps.
Downloading an HD movie of 5GB in size would take 2m 58s at the average speed experienced in table-topper Liechtenstein, while it would take 19h 31m in last-placed South Sudan.
32 of the top 50 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe (Eastern, Western and Baltics), with six in Asia (Ex. Near East), seven in the Caribbean region, three in Northern America, and one each in Oceania and Central America.
By contrast, 32 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa, five are in Asia (Ex. Near East), five are in the Near East, three are in the CIS (Former USSR) region, three are in Oceania, and one each in South America and the Caribbean region.
109 countries failed to achieve average speeds of 10Mbps or greater, the speed deemed by UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business.
Northern Africa recorded the lowest overall internet speeds as a collective region, with all six qualifying countries in the bottom half of the table. Mauritania (1.47Mbps) recorded the slowest speed in 210th place, followed by Algeria (1.83Mbps, 204th), and Libya (2.60Mbps, 194th). Moroccos (6.55Mbps, 134th), Tunisia (5.66Mbps, 144th), and Egypt (4.71Mbps, 157th) offered the fastest speed in the region.
48 countries were measured in second-slowest region Sub-Saharan Africa, 45 of which found themselves in the lowest 50% of countries in the table. Going against the trend somewhat were Madagascar (18.00, 77th), Réunion (16.35Mbps, 82nd), and South Africa (14.04Mbps, 97th). Meanwhile, last-place South Sudan (0.58Mbps, 221st), Equatorial Guinea (0.75Mbps, 218Mbps), Ethiopia (1.12Mbps, 214th), Somalia (1.14Mbps, 213th), and Sudan (1.35Mbps, 212th) all fell within the bottom ten countries in the world for network speed.
Most Central American countries found themselves toward the middle of the league table. The region as a whole has an average speed of 14.01Mbps, but there are winners and losers in the region. The fastest average speeds can be found in Panama (36.55Mbps, 49th), Belize (16.57Mbps, 79th), and Costa Rica (16.42Mbps, 81st). Meanwhile, Nicaragua (6.65Mbps, 132nd), El Salvador (6.13Mbps, 137th), and Honduras (5.93Mbps, 139th) all performed comparatively poorly.
27 countries were measured in the Asia (ex. Near East) region, which clocked in a regional average speed of 20.18Mbps. The fastest average speeds were measured in Hong Kong (105.32Mbps, 8th), Singapore (72.75Mbps, 18th), and Taiwan (54.77Mbps, 32nd) – all three of which have also performed well in previous years. China (2.09Mbps, 200th), Afghanistan (1.37Mbps, 211th), and Timor-Leste (0.89Mbps, 216th) were the slowest in the region, with Timor-Leste finding itself in the bottom ten countries in the world.
The 13 countries measured in South America span the upper-middle to very bottom of the table, with a regional average speed of 9.65Mbps. The fastest internet in South America can be found in Uruguay (22.16Mbps, 69th), Brazil (17.89Mbps, 78th), Paraguay (16.50Mbps, 80th), and Chile (16.10Mbps, 85th), all of which deliver respectable averages above the 10Mbps comfort zone. Guyana (4.43Mbps, 165th), Suriname (4.42Mbps, 166th), and Venezuela (1.61Mbps, 207th) were the slowest in the region.
Of the 13 qualifying countries in Oceania, most were in the bottom half of the speed table. The region has an overall average of 12.59Mbps. Leading the regional table here is New Zealand (66.66Mbps, 23rd), which trounces second-place (in the region) Australia (25.65Mbps, 62nd), and New Caledonia (15.15Mbps, 91st). The slowest in the region were Marshall Islands (2.75Mbps, 191st), Papua New Guinea (2.67Mbps, 193rd) and Vanuatu (2.22Mbps, 197th).
Of the 11 CIS (former USSR) nations in the table, most can be found from the middle of the table downwards. The region had an average speed of 9.16Mbps. The top-three fatest nations in the region were Russia (24.98Mbps, 64th), Belarus (16.08Mbps, 86th), and Ukraine 15.09Mbps, 92nd). The slowest countries in the region were Uzbekistan (2.10Mbps, 199th), Tajikistan (1.01Mbps, 215th) and Turkmenistan (0.74Mbps, 219th). Both Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were among the slowest ten places in the world.
All 29 countries measured in Western Europe were in the top half of the table, countries in the region taking eight of the top ten spots in the world for internet speed. The regional average speed of 81.19Mbps makes it the fastest of the 13 global regions overall. Impressive average speeds were measured for regional top-three Liechtenstein (29.98Mbps, 1st in the world), Jersey (218.37Mbps, 2nd) and Andorra (213.41Mbps, 3rd). The slowest places in the region were Italy (23.18Mbps, 68th), Vatican City (19.12Mbps, 75th), and Faroe Islands (15.47Mbps, 90th).
Five countries were measured in Northern America, all of which were in the top half of the table. The region as a whole has an average speed of 49.29Mbps. Bermuda (73.60Mbps, 17th) and the United States (71.30Mbps, 20th) led the region with impressive averages. Meanwhile, Canada (52.60Mbps, 34th), Saint Pierre and Miquelon (30.31Mbps, 54th), and Greenland (18.65Mbps, 76th) were the slowest in the region.
The 15 countries in the Near East measured for this year's speed league table span the middle to the bottom of the table. The average for speed for the region is 11.68Mbps. The fastest countries were United Arab Emirates (28.33Mbps, 56th), Israel (26.49Mbps, 60th) and Qatar (23.98Mbps, 67th). The slowest were Lebanon (2.34Mbps, 195th), Syrian Arab Republic (0.76Mbps, 217th) and Yemen (0.65Mbps, 220th). And while Yemen did not come dead last for the first time since the study began, it did come second-last, and was joined by Syria in the bottom ten.
There are 16 qualifying countries in the Eastern Europe region, all of which are in the top half of the table, with one (Hungary) making it into the top ten, and five others in the top 50. Overall the region averages 39.08Mbps. The fastest three were Hungary (99.74Mbps, 10th), Slovakia (72.26Mbps, 19th) and Slovenia (65.46Mbps, 25th). The slowest three were Bosnia and Herzegovina (15.66Mbps, 88th), Albania (12.36Mbps, 104th), and North Macedonia (11.48Mbps, 109th).
The Baltics, comprising three qualifying countries, ranked entirely in the top 50, and have an overall regional average of 59.95Mbps. Estonia fared best in 21st place overall and with an average speed of 70.90Mbps. Lithuania (56.63Mbps, 29th), and Latvia (52.32Mbps, 35th) followed behind fairly closely.
Overall the Caribbean region fared well for what are essentially island nations, with seven of the 27 countries measured featuring in the top 50 fastest countries in the world. Overall, the region offers a respectable 20.77Mbps on average. At the faster end, Aruba (89.81Mbps, 12th), Cayman Islands (57.96Mbps, 27th), and Barbados (56.90Mbps, 28th) led the way, while Anguilla (5.38Mbps, 148th), Sint Maarten (4.69Mbps, 158th), and Cuba (3.16Mbps, 185th) were the slowest.
Commenting on the worldwide rankings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said:
"While global broadband speeds continue to trend upward, the truth is faster countries are the ones lifting the average, pulling away at speed and leaving the slowest to stagnate. Last year, we measured the slowest five countries at 125 times slower than the five fastest. This year they are 276 times slower. The slowest countries are not slowing, they are simply not growing. While the fastest countries continue to accelerate year-on-year.
"Europe absolutely dominates the leaderboard once again thanks to largely excellent infrastructure. In all cases, those countries ranking highest are those with a strong focus on pure fibre (FTTP) networks, with those countries dawdling too much on FTTC and ADSL solutions slipping further down year-on-year."
Speaking on behalf of M-Lab, Chris Ritzo, Program Management and Community Lead at Measurement Lab, said:
"Cable.co.uk's annual internet speed ranking using M-Lab data is a great example of open data being used to encourage public understanding of broadband speeds people receive around the world. Average speed rankings by country are a great starting point for deeper research and statistical analysis of the state of broadband using M-Lab's global broadband measurement datasets."
Notes for editors
- IMPORTANT NOTICE: When using our research it is vital you link to the source page for this project. While we respect individual editorial policy, the dissemination of our research from one site to another without our involvement means that, without a traceable path back to the source, articles can and do begin appearing without crediting our work. This in turn leads to an inundation of queries our end from people wishing to find the data source themselves. And that can often mean more work than our small team can handle. Please consider this, and your readers, when deciding whether or not to link to the source in your article, news story, feature or white paper
- Special care must be made this year not to compare absolute speed numbers with those measured the previous year. M-Lab has undergone a platform upgrade, detailed in the methodology, which makes direct year-on-year comparison of Mbps numbers flawed. Rather, when looking at the table year-on-year, the position in the table should be cited instead, as M-Lab's platform upgrade will not have affected relative positioning
- Other annual research designed and conducted by Cable.co.uk includes worldwide broadband pricing, and worldwide mobile data pricing, and very recently how global network speeds were affected by stringent COVID-19 lockdown periods.
- An interactive map, along with further insights and downloadable versions of the data set, our full research methodology, and this press release can be found on the research source page
- Cable.co.uk analysed data collected by M-Lab in a 12 month period up to 7 May 2019, including 207 countries and territories. Some countries have been excluded from the study due to very low sample sizes
- Note that it is not our remit to analyse or interpret results within specific countries outside of the UK, merely to provide a starting point for others to do so. Requests to expound on an individual country basis beyond the UK will therefore go unanswered. The answers to most questions beyond that are found in the methodology document, downloadable via the research source page. For anything else, please email Dan Howdle (firstname.lastname@example.org), project head and consumer telecoms analyst. For purely technical queries concerning data extraction and speed-testing methodology, please email Mark Ashton (email@example.com), head of research and development
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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.
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Dan promotes and campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.
Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards. Dan also blogs regularly on consumer telecoms issues for HuffingtonPost.