How does Australia compare to the rest of the world in terms of Internet speeds? Well, pretty badly, actually. Visitors to our country from the US or Japan are often heard complaining about our comparatively slow Internet speeds. Is the situation really that bad? Are we really lagging that far behind the rest of the world?
It depends on who you ask. If you were to start with your local broadband provider, they would be pretty upbeat about the Internet situation in Australia – they have to be, they’re the ones who have to sell it to you. And to be fair, it is fast enough to service most online activities – streaming, gaming, etc – without a lot of latency. Businesses with a excessive dependency on high Internet speeds are likely to suffer with the current speeds however. The situation is likely to improve as more and more wholesale telecommunications providers like iVox hit the market, increasing competition for the big Internet players.
2. Average Speeds
Average speeds in Australia vary depending on the kind of connection you’re looking at. If you’re looking at High Speed Broadband (above 10Mbps) then we rank 38th worldwide and have been hovering around that mark for several years. That’s fairly terrible, especially when you look at nations even a few positions higher on that list – South Korea currently sits atop the list with a massive 23.6Mbps average speed. To put that in perspective, most Australians fall somewhere in the average of 6-7Mbps. Pretty dismal. There is, however, one particular kind of internet connection that Australia really excels at.
We have a world-class 3G/4G/LTE mobile network. The peak connection speed on our 4G network in 2013 clocked in at a whopping 130Mbps, with the average speed coming in somewhere around 4.6Mbps. Our mobile Internet speeds are the envy of a lot of other countries and something we can actually be really proud of. With more and more handsets accessing the 4G network, overall speed will fluctuate but, on the whole, it still leaves a lot of people’s home broadband connections for dead.
Australians run up against geoblocking all the time. How often have you tried to watch a YouTube video only to be told that “this content isn’t available in your country”? Streaming services like Netflix and HBOGO are also hidden behind a geoblock wall. It’s this more than anything else that has seen Australians setting up VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) in order to access these off-limit services. VPNs, however, can cause even further slowdown on the connection and so many users find themselves getting even more lag from their connection.
5. The National Broadband Network
The National Broadband Network (NBN) appears to our current great hope for a faster Internet in Australia. Those who are lucky enough to be connected to it (mostly in city locations like Melbourne and Sydney) report speeds of anything from 56Mbps up to 100Mbps. The NBN continues to roll out across the nation, bringing with it the Internet Australian citizens and businesses have long been craving.
In terms of Internet connectivity, Australia still has a long way to go before it will come anywhere close to the sort of speeds enjoyed by Japan and South Korea. We’re getting there, though, and – in much the same way we did when dial-up was our only option – we’ve managed to find a way to really get the best out of what we have.
Do you think Australia needs to focus on improving it’s internet infrastructure? Do you have the NBN on at home?
Post your comments below!