How fast is Australian internet?

netindex speedHow fast is our Australian Internet? The short answer is not very. The longer answer is: it’s slow, expensive and under-delivers.

In wrestling with some issues with my own internet connection I came across Net Index, a site which gives loads of useful stats on speed and value around the world. For example, the median domestic download speed in Hong Kong is 46.86 Mbps. In the USA it’s 17.68 Mbps. In Australia we get 12.99 Mbps. Mongolia, Poland and Uruguay sit just ahead of us.

Looked at by quality of connection (packet loss, etc), Sydney is ranked 20th in the world; while Australia as a whole is ranked 38th.

Interestingly, Net index also rates countries on the affordability of broadband. By this measure Australia comes in 20th – we have one of the most expensive broadband systems in the world, but we’re rich enough that it doesn’t look so bad when measured against our GDP per capita. We pay US$9.82 per Megabit per second which is simply pretty abysmal compared to most of the developed world.

But the figure I found really interesting is the ‘promise index’ which shows the median ratio of actual download speed to the download speed subscribed to (“promised speed”). Australia has a figure of 63.75 which puts us in 62nd place in the world. Sadly, Sydney performs even worse than the rest of Australia on this measure. What we’re promised just doesn’t seem to match up with what is delivered. In some other countries they actually over-deliver, can you believe it?

It’s easy to read too much into the detail of figures like these – although, while details may differ, every other survey I can find ranks us in about the same spot in the world. But even taking a broad view it comes down to us being badly under-served by our broadband providers in Australia. Technology changes, such as the NBN, may well change the speed over time – although I’m tempted to shrug my shoulders and say ‘so what?’ when you look at the blistering speeds already being provided by the countries at the top of the table. But technology wont change us paying through the nose for our connection, nor will it address us being sold one speed and then having another delivered.

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