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India’s average Internet connection speeds improve, but still suck


India once again had the slowest average Internet speed among APAC countries, according to a study by content delivery network Akamai Technologies for its Q1 FY16 State of the Internet report. India’s average connection speed during the quarter was 3.5 Mbps, Philippines also had the same speed (3.5 Mbps). South Korea recorded the highest average speed in APAC (and globally) with 29 Mbps.

The data has been collected from Akamai’s ‘Intelligent Platform’, which records Internet speed and adoption rates from 175,000 servers in more than 1,300 networks over 100 countries. The platform is only present in CDN networks hosted by Akamai, which means that only those systems that access the company’s CDN services are recorded.


India’s average Internet connection speed however increased by 24% from 2.8 Mbps in the previous quarter (Q4 FY15), and 36% Year-over-Year (YoY). In the same quarter, India recorded a 23% adoption rate of connections above a 4Mbps threshold, 4.8% of connections above 10 Mbps, and 2.0% of connections above 15 Mbps.

Internet adoption in India

For comparison: South Korea had a higher number of connections (69%) above 15 Mbps , which contributed to better average speed. But that is not the case with India, which had just 2% of the connections above 15 Mbps during Q1 FY16. India’s population is exponentially higher than South Korea, while its Internet penetration rate was just 25% in November 2015, according to IAMAI.

While this number is expected to grow, Akamai says that projects like Google Loon that uses white spaces for providing internet connectivity through aerial balloons in rural reaches could “greatly increase broadband adoption in underserved areas around the world”. However, in this month the Department of Telecommunication said that commercial deployment of Internet using white spaces will not be allowed through de-licensing to any player, which effectively puts a stop to Google’s and Microsoft plans to introduce Internet in rural areas.

Mobile Internet

During Q1 FY16, India’s average mobile connection speed stood at 3.2 Mbps, compared to 2.7 Mbps in the previous calendar quarter. This could increase at least marginally as more and more telecom operators in India have either started rolling out, or plan on launching 4G LTE services in India.

There is a catch again: India is gearing up for a high-priced spectrum auction that could fetch our government up to Rs 5.6 lakh crore. But more importantly, the 700 MHz which is regarded crucial for 4G LTE adoption, is being sold at Rs 11,485 crore per MHz pan India, which according to DoT is four times more than that of the 1,800 MHz band’s discovered auction price. Even telcos like Airtel and Telenor have expressed concerns over such high pricing for the 700 MHz band.

In the APAC region, Australia had the highest average mobile Internet connection of3.2 Mbps. Globally, UK had the highest average mobile Internet connection speed of 27.9 Mbps, while the lowest was recorded by Algeria (2.2 Mbps).

Other highlights from the report

Global average: The average Internet speed globally stood at 6.3 Mbps, during Q1 FY16 peaking at 34.7 Mbps. Global average peak connection speed also increased by 6.8% to 34.7 Mbps in the first quarter, rising 14% year over year. Global 10 Mbps, 15 Mbps, and 25 Mbps adoption also grew significantly in this quarter, recording growth of 10%,14%, and 19% and reaching adoption levels of 35%, 21%, and 8.5% respectively.

Peak Speeds: Singapore maintained its position as the country with the highest average peak connection speed at 146.9 Mbps in this quarter, registering an 8.3% quarterly increase. India’s highest average peak connection speed in the same quarter was 25.5 Mbps, while in the previous quarter (Q4 FY15) connections peaked at 21.2 Mbps.

Mobile Browser usage: During Q1 FY16, Chrome Mobile was the leading browser consistently throughout the quarter with a 36% share. At the start of the quarter, Mobile Safari had a 35% share. Chrome also held a 14%-point lead over Android’s default browser. At the end of the quarter, Chrome overtook Safari by nearly 11%-points and beating Android’s default browser by 26%-points.

Broadband and high-speed Internet: Globally, 4 Mbps broadband adoption grew by 73%, up 5.4% from the previous quarter, while South Korea recorded the highest level of adoption at 97%. South Korea also led the world across the 10 Mbps, 15 Mbps, and 25 Mbps broadband tiers, with adoption rates of 84%, 69%, and 42% respectively.

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