Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How Australia ranks on broadband penetration, price and speed

I've just found the 2008 broadband rankings report (PDF) from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The Foundation draws from OECD and other data to form a picture of how various countries are tracking in terms of broadband penetration, speed and cost.

Australia doesn't do too badly overall, ranking 12th out of 30 on the table, mainly because of our high broadband penetration rate.

However Australia had the 4th slowest average broadband access speed at 1.7Mbps. Spain (1.2Mbps), Mexico (1.1Mbps) and Greece (1.0Mbps) were the only listed countries with slower average speeds, whilst the leaders were significantly ahead, Japan (63.6Mbps) and South Korea (49.5Mbps) - the average broadband speed was 9.2Mbps, five times as fast as Australia's average.

If other countries did nothing to their networks while Australia introduced the proposed 12Mbps network, we'd reach 6th on the table. More likely, assuming this network takes 5 years to introduce, I'd anticipate that other nations would be improving their network speeds, leaving Australia in the bottom half of the list.

The cost comparison compared the minimum monthly cost per Mb in each country. This looked at connection charges NOT download limits, therefore does not represent Australia on the same playing field (most countries do not have Australia's download restrictions such as excess charges or speed capping, it's 'all you can download' for the same monthly price).

My take-away from it is that Australia requires some serious and fast work in restructuring both our internet pricing arrangements and network infrastructure improvements to adequately remain competitive in an increasingly digitally-driven economy.

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