Worldwide Internet Speedtests
In late 2014, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Worldwide Web, announced that he believes that the Internet should be a basic human right:
"It's time to recognize the Internet as a basic human right. That means guaranteeing affordable access for all, ensuring Internet packets are delivered without commercial or political discrimination, and protecting the privacy and freedom of Web users regardless of where they live."
As of 2014, however, an estimated 4.4 billion people (3.2 billion live in 20 countries), do not have access to the internet, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. The majority of those that do not have access to the Internet are scattered all over the globe––from Myanmar and Ethiopia to Tanzania and Bangladesh. Further, despite the issue of lack of access to the Internet, there is still a discrepancy in Internet speeds for the few billion that do have access.
This Silk explores Internet download speeds in over 100 countries by looking at data from the Net Index.
The map below graphs countries according to their Internet speeds; only countries with available data are displayed.
According to the Net Index database (2013-present), "the value is the rolling mean speed in Mbps over the past 30 days. Only tests taken within 300 miles of the server are eligible for inclusion in the index."
As demonstrated, the majority of countries that have high Internet download speeds are in Asia. Overall, Asia enjoys some of the highest Internet speeds in the world. However, such high speed data is only limited to a cluster of countries. India, for example, has one of the slowest Internet speeds (7.76 Mbps) in the world. Overall, as of July 2015, global Internet speed data shows that G8 countries lead the way with an average of 34.5 Mpbs, followed by OECD (32.5 Mbps), EU (32 Mbps), and APEC (28.4 Mbps).
Average Download Speeds, Mapped by Location
As demonstrated by the tables above, the top-10 countries with the fastest Internet are located in either Asia or Europe. On the other hand, several developing countries, in Africa in particular, suffer from low Internet speeds.
As a measure of reference, it takes at least a 5.0 Mbps download speed to view a video on Netflix in HD, 0.15 Mpbs to stream a song on Spotify, and 0.5 Mpbs to make a video call on Skype.
It is clear that the global average for Internet speeds is increasing. An analysis of data from Net Index shows that in August 2014, the global average was approximately 19.9 Mbps, compared to 24.4 Mbps a year later, in July 2015. Still, these numbers do not necessarily reflect global improvement, but rather an advancement in the Internet speeds of mainly developed countries––including OECD, G8, EU, and APEC countries.
Ultimately, as the data has revealed, Tim Berners-Lee's dream is still far from being realized.