Kiwi broadband not sufficient for new web applications

Quality of the broadband connection as important as penetration, says Cisco

Broadband speeds in the UK, Italy and Australia and many other countries are barely keeping pace with the demands of web-based applications and video services, whose bandwidth needs are expected to only rise, according to a new survey.

And according to Speedtest.net, the source of the data, New Zealand is even further behind.

The survey, sponsored by Cisco Systems, focused on the broadband speeds that users averaged in 42 countries, rather than just broadband penetration, the often-used figure for measuring the maturity of a country’s internet infrastructure.

But quality of the broadband connection is just as important, as it is linked to how quickly consumers can use bandwidth-intensive video, photo and music services, and other applications, says Fernando Gil de Bernabé, managing director for Cisco’s internet business solutions group. Sluggish broadband means technology companies are constrained.

For each country, a weighted index was created, based on upload and download speeds and latency, the time delay it takes a signal to reach another server or to make a complete loop from a sender.

The index is a measure of how well that country’s infrastructure stands up against what experts consider to be the performance needed for a good internet experience today: 3.75Mbit/s download speed, 1Mbit/s upload speed and latency of no more than 95 milliseconds.

The UK, Italy and Australia don’t make that mark now; neither do Canada, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, China or India. And, for New Zealand, the news is even worse, rating well behind Australia for average download speed, at 2.9Mbit/s, and achieving just 419kbit/s for average upload speed.

In three to five years, the study predicts the requirement for a good internet experience will be a download speed of 11.25Mbit/s, upload speed of 5Mbit/s and latency of no more than 60 milliseconds.

Only Japan exceeds that threshold now. But other countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Latvia and South Korea are now providing some of the highest quality internet access in the world, exceeding the study’s requirement.

Speedtest.net measures a user’s upload and download speeds and latency from their PC through to the server from which information is being requested. Speedtest.net records data such as the user’s country, service provider and broadband speed, Bernabé says.

The survey used Speedtest.net’s data from May, when the site conducted close to 8 million tests, conducted by users in the target countries. Users weren’t aware that their test would be incorporated into a study. The New Zealand data came from Speedtest.net last week.

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Tags Networking & Telecomms IDciscobroadband

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