Internet Connection Speeds: Australia Versus the UK & US Compared

When I first moved here in 2007 my Internet access was slow, very slow. But then my ISP introduced ADSL 2 and I started getting quite good download speeds, for back then anyway, of 2.5 Mb per second. To me it seemed faster than I was getting back in England and I explained all that in my post around that time called Surfin’ Australia.

The reason I was most impressed was because we kind of live out in the sticks here and the telephone exchange that serves this area, which is in my road, looks a bit run down. I’ve not been inside it, but I imagine it looks like this…

Telephone exchangeFour years later, in 2013, I wrote a post called Australia’s Voters: Between a Rock and a Hard Place. This country was going to the polls and had to decide between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal National Party; or ALP & LNP.

The ALP promised to deliver a superfast broadband network across the country giving us excellent Internet access and the LNP promised to abolish the carbon tax.

I wanted both, hence the rock and a hard place.

So where are we today?

The LNP won, carbon tax is gone, which is great, but the superfast broadband, which is still going ahead, is not really being built anywhere near fast enough both in terms of Internet connection speeds and the areas covered. I’m still waiting for this superfast Internet to hit my sleepy suburb, but I think I’ll be waiting for some time yet.

Don’t get me wrong, speeds have improved dramatically and at the moment I’m getting around 8.5 Mb per second with my ADSL 2, a big improvement from seven years ago.

But how does Australian Internet compare to the UK’s?

Recently Akamai released their ‘State of the Internet Report’. I downloaded it to take a look and began, as you do, by reading the introduction. It starts by talking about the ‘Internet of Things’ which, from what I can gather, is a reference to how the Internet connects to so many things these days.

IPhones, iPads, Androids, smartphones, even my air-conditioning connects to Wi-Fi as does my PVR, my Blu-ray disc player, my daughters PlayStation, as well as probably a whole range of new consumer electronic products that I don’t even know exist yet.

The Internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity to keep up with modern technology.

home-networkingI continued reading, it was fascinating stuff, but then I noticed that the report was 72 pages long! Well, I like the Internet, but not that much. So I use the “Find” tool and searched for both Australia and the United Kingdom to cut to the chase and get the exact information I wanted.

So, enough banter, let’s take a look at how Australia’s Internet compares to the UK’s. Oh, and a few other countries as well.

Australia

  • Average connection speed – 6.9 Mbps
  • Average peak connection speed – 36 Mbps
  • Global rank for connection speed – 44th
  • Average connection speed mobile devices – 3.9 Mbps

United Kingdom

  • Average connection speed – 10.7 Mbps
  • Average peak connection speed – 46.8 Mbps
  • Global rank for connection speed – 19th
  • Average connection speed mobile devices – 8.1 Mbps

United States

  • Average connection speed – 11.5 Mbps
  • Average peak connection speed – 48.8 Mbps
  • Global rank for connection speed – 12th
  • Average connection speed mobile devices – 5.8 Mbps

South Korea

  • Average connection speed – 25.3 Mbps
  • Average peak connection speed – 83 Mbps
  • Global rank for connection speed – 1st
  • Average connection speed mobile devices – 18.2 Mbps

You can download Akamai’s full report here, it contains so much more information. But I think we have enough for our needs. When it comes to Australia versus the UK, the UK is a clear winner. Both of our countries though are behind the United States.

If you want really fast Internet, then South Korea is the place to be.

So there you have it, the state of the Internet here in Australia compared to the UK and a couple of other countries. We may be the slowest of the four countries I’ve looked at, but we’re not that far behind the UK.

I would like to make one more comparison before we wrap this up, nothing to do with the Internet. It’s just to cheer me up a bit.

Population density per square mile

  • South Korea – 1282
  • United Kingdom – 663
  • United States – 84
  • Australia – 7

Well, that’s made me feel better. On reflection, we’re not doing that bad. It stands to reason that Jack Roo living out in Woop Woop would struggle to get a decent Internet connection here, so how could we possibly keep up?

For more on those population figures, see Interesting Facts About Australia – #1

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{ 45 comments… add one }
  • John April 6, 2016, 8:46 am | Link

    A extra note or detail for the “If you want really fast Internet, then South Korea is the place to be.” Or possibly a down side depending on ones point of view.

    South Korea’s does have certain internet censorship laws, although in my opinion many are not *as bad when you compare them to other countries. But they have also been known in the past for censoring certain political statements

    Another is you only can use one browser and that is Internet Explorer.

    Just some interesting little details with south korea’s internet

    • BobinOz April 6, 2016, 6:35 pm | Link

      Yes, that is interesting, I didn’t know. I’m sure there must be ways around it for those dedicated enough, a VPN would probably get past the censorship but I can’t even begin to think how they can force everyone to use Internet Explorer.

      Definitely a downside as far as I’m concerned, they may be ahead on speed but they come a fair bit behind in freedom of choice.

    • theo April 11, 2016, 10:48 am | Link

      I have now 113 mbps,
      live on the gold coast Australia.

      • BobinOz April 11, 2016, 11:05 pm | Link

        113? Wow! Sounds like NBN has come to town. Who are you with and how much are you paying? Sounds like a surfers paradise (sorry) 🙂

  • Alexandrian Maciver March 24, 2016, 12:41 am | Link

    OH Bob you need to take your rose tinted specs off if you think Internet Speeds are good in Oz . Here in Perth we are waiting 3 MONTHS for port to sign up for AsDL, & when you do its rubbish speeds & blackouts , Telstra then tell you walls maybe causing disturbance , like iiNet ad say Oz is behind Romania & should be a matter of national embrassment Should be using some of that Innovation Skills Mr Turnbull talks about

    • BobinOz March 24, 2016, 7:20 pm | Link

      Well I’ve had a quick skim through my own article Alexandrian, and I can’t see anywhere where I have said that I think speeds are good in Oz. I have clearly stated they are a long way behind many other countries, and pointed out a possible link to population density.

      Here in Brisbane, I work on the internet every single day, I don’t get any blackouts and I get a constant speed of around 6.5 Mb per second. I would love it to be faster, but it isn’t. It’s certainly good enough to work with though.

      Maybe it’s not so good for you up in Perth, you are a bit isolated over there, maybe that population density problem I mentioned affects you more over there.

      I’ve heard rumours my suburb will be getting NBN by the end of this year, that would be really nice.

  • Kamma April 5, 2015, 6:36 am | Link

    Uh, Bob? There’s a pretty big leap between 19th and 44th… Also:
    http://www.ytravelblog.com/pathetic-internet-in-australia/

    • BobinOz April 5, 2015, 9:49 pm | Link

      What I’m saying is 6.9 Mb per second versus 10.7 Mb per second, when you are actually using computers at those speeds, there is not an enormous amount of difference.

      As for that link, I feel his pain. Been through it myself before…

      http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/111/wheres-my-australian-holiday/

      Relying on the Internet when you’re travelling is more stress than it’s worth. Whenever I go away now, I write my posts in advance and schedule them, it’s just not worth the aggro trying to get a connection on the move.

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