Posted by & filed under digital divide, Digital Policy, national culture, telecomunications.

Description: New research ranks the countries with the fastest Internet connections, and all 50 U.S. states too.


Date: Jan 24 , 2011

The speed at which people around the world connect to the Internet is climbing at a 14% annual clip and now averages nearly 2 megabits per second, according Akamai’s “State of the Internet” report that is due out tomorrow.

There remain huge variations around that average speed. South Koreans hook into the Internet at 14 megabits a second, seven times the global average, earning them the top spot on Akamai’s list:   Read rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • As you look at the list of fastest internet connections, what is the biggest surprize to you? Why?
  • Why is Canada not near the top of the list?
  • Should this be a public policy goal of the Canadian Governement? Why? or Why not?

18 Responses to “The world’s fastest Internet access—who’s got it?”

  1. Brittni Maurer

    It is surprising as stated in the article that Russia has the top speed or mobile downloads. I find this surprising because I would have thought somewhere were the technology might be more advanced would have been China, do to all the products being made there, and having such a huge population per square mile. I also found it very interesting that Delaware out of all the states in the United States was the top for speeds of the internet throughout. I found this interesting because there are other states that are at a much larger size. It makes sense though as it is stated in the article that it is due to the population density and competitive market.
    I believe that Canada is not near the top of the charts because of how big our land mass in compared to the amount of people that we have in our country. I would say that our internet speeds are pretty fast, but will not make it to the top of the charts because we don’t have a huge population backing it up.
    I don’t think that this should be a policy goal of the Canadian Government because I don’t feel that it is that big of a deal if we have the fastest internet in the world, as long as well have internet that is working at a acceptable speed that will get our country by. I think that the Canadian Government has more important issues to deal.

  2. Brett

    The biggest surprise to me is that my internet speed in the middle of nowhere, aka Lethbridge Alberta, is 19 Mbps. I don’t know how they are doing the testing, but they didn’t come to my house. I think that the average internet speed is more of a measure of how “cheap” certain countires are than who has the fastest internet. Faster internet costs more per month and it appears that Canadians aren’t willing to pay for it. The Canadian government and CRTC are the cause of most of the problems as they have severly limited competition in the telecommunications industry. Because there is no/little competion, this leads to higher prices for the consumer. The networks here in Canada are capable of much higher speeds, but they cost more and the customer can’t afford it. As Canadians we pay the highest rates of anyone in the world for our telecommunications services, we are number one in paying for it, but recieve below average service. If we let in some competition we will move up in quality of service and we will pay lower prices.

  3. Caley Sinclair

    I agree that Canada’s large land mass in relation to the population has an effect on the internet speeds. A large portion of the population lives in rural areas where it is not possible to access high speed internet. This rural population has access to the much much slower dial up internet. Rural communities and residents will keep Canada from getting anywhere close to the top of the list. As for Canada having a pulic policy, it is not something of great importance. Canadians can access internet from almost anywhere whether it be fast or slow. If they cant access high speed, most people now carry phones that are capable of accessing the internet at much quicker speeds.

  4. Oloff Dreyer

    The country that I was surprised to find on the top ten list of fastest internet connections was Romania. I found this surprising because Romania is located in eastern Eastern Europe, which I always saw as being under Communist control until the late 1950’s. This led me to believe that technology in this region of the world would not be too advanced. I believe that Canada is not near the top of the list as this is probably not our main goal as a nation. I think we have probably invested our funds in other regions of the economy, since our internet seems to be functioning at an adequate speed. I think this probably should not be a top priority for the Canadian Government to make our country number one for internet speed in the world but is definately an important item on the list of things to do. I believe this is important because internet speed can help educational, military and private institutions function faster and more efficiently in the future. Also this would just be a natural way of keeping up with other nations and technology.

  5. John

    I believe that upgrading the internet capabilities of Canada should be something that the Canadian government should look into. According to the Globe and Mail by the year 2030, Canada is not even going to be in the top 10 economies based on GDP alone. By upgrading our internet and fiber optics networks we can continue to compete on a global scale. I am not saying this should be a top priority of the government, but in order to stay competitive in a world market we have to have the ground work laid to be able to support more internet users. Since our population is increasing and the demand on the existing system is already evidently being taxed we will eventually have to prepare for the future and upgrade. If we are proactive rather then reactive we might also be able to save tax payers money in the long run and give us an added competitive advantage today rather then tomorrow.

  6. Kuda

    The biggest surprise for me was the presence of European states such as Latvia, Romania and Czech Republic. I would have expected countries like the US, Canada and the UK to be up there instead (top ten). The reason being with the level of business competitiveness within these developed countries, you would expect them to be also competitive in internet speeds, just behind the technology savvy asian countries. Canada’s absence could be attributed to the fact that these speeds are not viewed as important or as a priority. And I would assume that the higher costs in Canada in investing in internet speeds might be somewhat restrictive yet all these other countries it might be less expensive or such technology happens to be a competitive advantage. Therefore there could be minimal drive towards investing more resources in increasing these speeds. I would say that this should be a public goal for Canadians. Why? Because in the long run these countries could have competitive advantages in a intertwined world and so develop over the western countries.

  7. Ashley Halliday

    I think that Canada is not near the top of the list because we are not as an advanced country as others for innovation, technology, research and development etc. John brings up a very interesting point about Canada needing to upgrade their internet capabilities in order to stay competitive in the world market. I think it will be sooner than 2030 that we fall below the top ten ( since we are currently sitting at ninth place. Canadian Government should take a serious look at opportunities to encourage growth within Canada so we can stay afloat.
    I don’t think that faster internet will solve the issues of our lacking ability to be competitive with other countries such as BRIC but it could help.

  8. Warren S.

    I was a little but surprised that South Koreans have the fastest internet connection. I suspected Japan would be at the top spot and Canada and the U.S. would be closely following just because of their advancements in technology. I figured developed countries such as these are to have the best quality internet. I would guess Canada is not near the top because of too much wireless crowding and possibly the huge costs of fibre optic cable to reach Canada’s massive landmass. Although I would guess Russia has good quality despite a large mass because there is less crowding. It would be very expensive to do a major overhaul of fibre optics in Canada. To compete on the international stage Canadians should have the best technology to work with. I predict the Canadian government will try to make faster internet a priority, but I think it will be a very slow and incremental process, more than likely by the time the new stuff is in there will already be something newer out yet again.

  9. Teigen C.

    I definitely agree with you here!

    We pay so much for internet access and cell phone use. It is almost like Canada is being prevented from the benefits of these technologies! Sure there are probably many reasons as to why Canada is not top on the list – big land mass, low competition in this area of technology.. etc. but Canada needs to step up it’s game, otherwise it’s only going to get worse. The government should be looking into telecommunications and try to advance them as much as possible. Especially since internet use has become such an important part of our everyday lives! It seems as though Canada is always behind in technology and that even if the government puts in a lot of energy to try and enhance our internet and telecommunications, it will still be behind. Canadian government needs to be more proactive and get a jump on technology!

  10. A.S.

    There are several factors in which can explain why Canada is not on top of this list. As Canada is the second largest country, there is a giant landmass to cover all high-speed Internet connections. With this in mind, there comes the incurring cost of a fiber optic network. In particular, we have certain providers for different regions within the country such as Telus and Shaw Cable in the west, and Bell and Rogers in the east (although both are available in the west), where all are competing for the fastest high-speed connections. But in doing so, these companies are continually searching for new ways/technologies to provide faster speeds, which undoubtedly carries a heavy cost. Although this is not a critical situation it is still something in which the Canadian government should keep in mind so they don’t lag any further. Some technologically advanced countries have already sought new innovative ways for high-speed Internet connectivity, which has given them a wider range of accessibility to the Internet, and a competitive advantage in technology processing.

  11. Jolan Naismith

    South Korea being at the top of this list doesn’t surprise me at all. Having lived in both South Korea and Canada the differences in internet speeds were significant. Technology is used everywhere seemingly at all hours of the day whether it is working on your laptop at the office, students taking a moment or two in their busy days to play video games at the local “noraebong” or your cab driver watching Korean soap operas while driving you through rush hour traffic.
    Cellular phones are a completely different ball game in South Korea. You require a cell number to sign up for anything in South Korea from the Home Plus points card, to entering and exiting the country through customs. I have never paid less for cell phone and internet services as I did while living in Korea, whether that is as a result of sheer volume or some secret the western world has yet to discover, I can tell you this much I miss my Korean cell phone bills.

  12. AS

    I am slightly suprised that South Korea has the fastest internet connection. I would have figured that other countries would have been more technologically advanced than them. I was also suprised not to see Canada on the list at least in the top 12. I can see now that we are probably not as technologically advanced as other countries and it is not in our primary goals to be as far as I know. I dont think it should be a public policy goal of the Candian government but I dont think it should be forgotten. We need to keep up with technological advances so that we are not creating a digital divide for our country therefore creating disadvantages and missed opportunities. I think it is important in a business sense to try and be as technologically advanced as we can so we can compete with other countries but there are still a lot of other issues like standard of living and medicare that should be primary focus over speeding up interent connection.

  13. t.sedrovic

    I think that there are a lot more critical issues for the Canadian gov’t to look at fixing before we focus on catching up in internet speed. Rural populations can drastically decrease average internet speeds, and unless we plan on populating all of Canada and making it as densely populated as say India or China, we are not going to catch up. Having “more square feet of awesomeness per person than any other country” is something that I quite enjoy, and if it means taking a few extra seconds to search for something online, I’ll take that trade any day. Every country is so much faster than we were even 5 years ago, so as technology continues to grow, so will our internet speeds. No need to run out and make “faster net speeds” the top priority of your election campaign just yet.

  14. J.E.

    It is no surprise to me that such technology hubs like Hong Kong and Japan are near the top of the list. The thing that is surprising however is that there average speeds are not even in the double digits. Here in Canada it you want to pay for it(and really it is not that expensive), it is not hard to get internet speeds in excess of the world top average of 14 Megabits per second. I suspect that the amounts of rural area’s in a country like Canada would not be feesible to run such expensive cable to and thus these people are forced to use wireless towers or satelites to power their internet which at only roughly 3.0 megabits per second would bring down a countries average fairly quickly. These numbers will all quickly change though and soon enough most countries in the world will exceed well beyond 14 megabits per second as an average.

  15. Chris

    The biggest surprise of not having the fastest internet connection is that the US is not one of the top people. Looking at who has the higher economies I would relate them more to how well their economy is doing with the fastest internet connection. The places on the list like Latvia I can not see them as being the highest but now doing research into it I can understand. Latvia is now one of the fastest growing countries in Europe. I don’t understand why the United states is on the list of the 12th one when Canada is not on the list at all when Canada follows Americans Technology quite a bit. Canada also has many immigrants from these places that have the top internet connections to why Canada not on the list? This should be a policy of Canadian government only if this will help Canadians society if not we are doing fine without it. It can bring about more technical jobs and it can also cost Canada a lot from looking into other countries technology.

  16. m.lee

    The thing that gets me with this article is the availability of the internet. A little over a decade ago, the internet was slowly coming into homes. It was believed by many – as a fad that would fade out quickly. No one realized or expected the rapid transition that allowed this technology to become so main stream.
    As the profits are collected by non-government bodies I think that it should be a joint collaboration between the government and these companies. As Canada is known to have one of the highest costs associated with accessing the internet. I think that consumers should start to demand more for its money. The government should open up the telecommunication industry to create competition; this would cause the price to decrease while increasing the quality.

  17. Wendy.R

    I don’t believe that speed is the only factor that the government should be concerned with. I believe that as we are in a digital era the government has a duty to insure that people have the ability to access this resource. This could be achieved by opening up the telecommunication industry. By doing this they would be able to force the industry to compete and obtain lower profit margins. The price would decrease will the quality would increase. The government could collaborate with the industry and develop the infrastructure in remote locations across Canada. Although many may be frustrated when comparing countries, but as identified with the report we should also take into consideration the density, but we should also take into consideration the different types of use. It is not so uncommon to download full movies.

  18. Trevor.T

    I always knew that Canada was slow and conservative, but to get beat by more than one less develop nation is a little embarrassing. I think that eventually our internet will get faster but without a lot of competition it will probably rise at a lower pace. I guess that a fact of our Canadian life, our low population densities don’t attract a lot of choices in competitors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.