Who Has the Fastest Internet Speeds in the World, and Why Does it Matter?

Faster Internet speeds have been shown to positively impact both business operations and economic growth, but Internet speeds around the world differ dramatically. Investing resources in providing broadband connectivity to as many people as possible can make a big difference in the ability of companies to compete in the global market.

In Search of Blazing Internet Speeds

According to Wikipedia, the average worldwide Internet connection speed is 5.1 Mbps, but some countries enjoy average speeds that are three to four times as fast:

• South Korea: 20.5 Mbps
• Sweden: 17.4 Mbps
• Norway at 16.4 Mbps
• Switzerland:16.2 Mbps
• Hong Kong: 15.8 Mbps

New Zealand lags at number 28 on the list with average speeds of 8.7 Mbps. The discrepancy between speeds is largely due to the willingness and ability of governments to invest in extensive, high-quality broadband networks. The good news for NZ is that ultra-fast Fibre is currently being rolled out around the country with ISPs such as Bigpipe offering blazing fast speeds of up to 100Mbps in affordable consumer grade offerings. It will be sometime however before average speeds across the country challenge those seen in South Korea!

South Korea began planning and implementing high-speed networks nearly a decade before the U.S., and the government worked to get citizens connected through a series of subsidies and educational initiatives. Many other countries are beginning to set up fiber-optic networks that can deliver peak performance with little or no interference regardless of distance. Looser regulations, “open” networks that share infrastructure and more competitors for broadband providers also play a role in the roll out and adoption of faster internet speeds.

Why Seek Out Fast Internet?

For the average user, faster Internet means quicker downloads, better streaming and optimized gaming performance. If you’re a business owner, on the other hand, you have more practical reasons to look for the best Internet speeds you can find.

Business

The faster that information can be transferred between departments in your company, the more efficiently employees can work. Sluggish Internet decreases productivity and inhibits your ability to make the most of modern collaborative tools that rely on the cloud for data storage and access. Optimizing the performance of ERP and CRM apps requires the ability to retrieve information on a moment’s notice, update it in real time and send it wherever it needs to go without any serious delays. This quick access to data is vital to the customer experience and can help set you apart from other companies in an increasingly competitive market.

Reliable broadband Internet also allows you to invest in time- and money-saving solutions such as VoiP phones. If you have a high enough connection speed, you can operate these and many other devices on the same network without experiencing any performance problems.

Economic Development

Greater efficiency in business means faster growth and more jobs. In fact, studies show that a 10 percent increase in broadband access can subsequently increase GDP by 0.9 to 1.5 percent. The simple act of expanding Internet availability creates jobs within the industry, and more jobs appear in other areas once the infrastructure is in place. Quality Internet connections also facilitate learning, leading to a more educated workforce and employees with higher qualifications.

While it’s impractical to move your entire company to a country with faster Internet speeds, there are things you can do to get the most out of the connections that are available where you are. Shop around for the best possible package for your business needs, or, if you’re just starting out and looking for a place to establish your company, set up shop in a densely populated area to take advantage of the higher concentration of broadband lines. Establish a regular schedule for cloud backups to minimize high-demand data transfer, and create policies to curtail personal use of company bandwidth. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to access the fastest speeds possible and make use of technology to grow your business.

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