While take-up of the government’s preferred NBN strategy is slow, with just 1,000 customers after 14 months, Australia is losing ground in the internet speed race.
The latest Akamai State of the Internet report ranks Australia 46th in the world for average connection speed, at 7.8 megabytes per second. And Australia is losing ground, managing just a 13% improvement in connection speed over the past year while the world on average improved by 14%.
Meanwhile, New Zealand improved 23%, the United States by 9.4%, Canada by 16%, and the United Kingdom by 21%.
The United States and Canada are especially notable as they share one of Australia’s main challenges – large geographic areas with often spread populations. But even Utah, one of the least dense states in America, has an average connection speed of 16.2mbps – more than double that of Australia, and has increased this by 9.7% over the past year.
Further, a direct comparison between Australia, the United States and Canada shows they were clustered together not too long ago, with an average speed of around 5mbps in 2011. Since then, however, Canada and the US have left Australia behind.
One of the big drivers of this has been increased competition, as tech companies like Google begin laying high-speed fibre networks in several US cities, forcing traditional cable companies to respond. Major Canadian telcos have also announced competing fibre networks as they jostle for customers.