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No surprises: India’s 3.5Mbps lowest Internet speed in APAC

First, play the song. Thom Yorke’s baleful vocals which say that there are no alarms and no surprises sets the tone for this story.

India’s average Internet speed continues to be the slowest among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, that were part of the study conducted by content delivery network Akamai Technologies for its Q1 2016 State of the Internet report. India had the lowest average connection speed in the region at 3.5 Mbps tying with the Philippines at the same speed.

The report is based on data collected by Akamai’s Intelligent Platform across several metrics like internet connection speeds, broadband adoption rates, mobile connectivity, and attack traffic.

Overall India’s average internet speed grew by 24% QoQ and 55% YoY, and ranked 114th globally. South Korea continued to have the fastest average connection speed in the region and globally at 29 Mbps followed by Hong Kong at 19.9 Mbps (4th globally) and Japan at 18.2 Mbps (7th globally). Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand were the other two countries in the region with average connection speeds above 10 Mbps.


As we have mentioned time and again, the 3.5 Mbps average internet speed appears to be too high for India, as the TRAI defines broadband as internet connections above 512 Kbps. Airtel had even rejected this, and in a reply to TRAI’s draft paper on FUP said that a “service provider should be free to throttle the speed to 64kbps after the expiry of assigned data limit to the customer”. Note that the TRAI recently recommended redefining the minimum broadband speed to 2mbps.

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Akamai’s definition of broadband internet on the other hand, is internet connections with speeds above 4 Mbps. In Q1 2016, India had 23% connections above the 4 Mbps threshold, an increase from 38% from last quarter and 139% YoY. India was the second lowest ranked country in the Asia-Pacific region with the global rank 107, with only Philippines doing worse in the APAC region with an 18% adoption rate.


High speed broadband adoption:

Akamai defines broadband connections with speeds over 10 Mbps as high-speed broadband. The adoption of high speed broadband in India stood at 4.8%, a 75% increase QoQ and 184% increase YoY. As of now, the country ranks 70th internationally, with some Asian countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and, surprisingly, China lagging behind India.

In South Korea, 84% of the internet connections were above the 10 Mbps mark, while 97% were above the 4 Mbps mark. Japan and Hong Kong also had an impressive adoption rate with 66% and 66% of the connections in each country above 10 Mbps, and 94% and 92% above 4 Mbps respectively. Interestingly, Thailand ranked 5th globally with 96% of its connections above the 4 Mbps mark.


15 Mbps connections:

There is a growing demand for 4K (Ultra HD) video content globally and even in India, given that 4K TVs are available for as cheap as Rs 36,000. According to Akamai, 10-20 Mbps bandwidth is the minimum speed required for seamless streaming of 4K videos. The 15 Mbps speed hits that sweet spot nicely.

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South Korea ranked first by this metric, with 69% of the connection above 15 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong & Japan at 48% and 44% respectively. In India 15 Mbps or more speed adoption increased 210% YoY and stood at 2%, an increase of 97% from last quarter.

Mobile connections:

India had an average mobile internet speed of 2.7 Mbps in Q4FY15, with 16% of the connections experiencing speeds above 4 Mbps. The fastest average mobile speed in Asia-Pacific at 11.8 Mbps, unsurprisingly, belonged to South Korea. As per the report, the UK has the fastest average internet speed globally at 26.8 Mbps.

Image source: Julian Burgess under CC BY 2.0

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