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UK is 33rd in world broadband speed list

South Korea has fastest home net connection

The UK ranks 33rd in a list of the country's with the fastest internet speeds.

According to Speedtest.net, South Korea has the fastest home internet service in the world, with a downstream speed 100 times faster than the average in Sudan.

When South Koreans tested their wired broadband connections over the past 30 days, they found an average downstream speed of 34.14Mbps, according to the Net Index, which was unveiled by Ookla, the creator of Speedtest.

That was several times the worldwide average of 7.67Mbps and 100 times as fast as the 340Kbps downstream speed in Sudan, the lowest average out of 152 ranked countries.

Latvia (24.29Mbps), the Republic of Moldova (21.37Mbps), Japan (20.29Mbps) and Sweden (19.78Mbps) were the other countries with the fastest speeds in the world. 

The world average was 2.10Mbps.

Residents of Seoul, the world's fastest major city for broadband, enjoyed just slightly higher bandwidth than the South Korean average, registering 34.66Mbps.

Riga, Latvia, came in second with 27.90Mbps. San Jose, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, was the fastest US city, with an average of 15.03Mbps downstream.

The numbers are filtered in certain ways to prevent distortion one way or the other, according to Ookla co-founder and CEO Mike Apgar.

The statistics only include countries where tests were generated from at least 75,000 unique IP addresses.

Some, including South Korea's neighbor North Korea, did not make the list of 152.

For Ookla's formal top ten, only countries with at least 100,000 unique IP addresses used in tests are qualified.

Ookla is making the data available to help consumers, ISPs and regulators make more informed decisions, Apgar said.

Previously, the company has provided raw data to researchers and companies through one-on-one arrangements.

It also provides some data to ISPs, which can present Ookla's broadband-testing tools to their subscribers under their own brands.

Though the speeds may appear high for nationwide or citywide averages, Ookla says Speedtest detects more than just the bandwidth that a single PC browser can consume.

It uses multiple threads of data to determine the full capacity of an Internet connection, which could be used by several devices around a home, Apgar said.

At least 90 percent of the results on which the index is based came from wired, residential broadband connections, which is the focus of the index, Apgar said.

Ookla can detect a mobile broadband session by the name of the ISP and manually filters out the results of tests that were probably conducted from a business, he said.

Free Press, an activist group on broadband issues, commended Ookla for making the data public but called it unscientific.

Most importantly, Speedtest results come from users who know about the service and are interested enough in their broadband performance to test it, said S Derek Turner, research director at Free Press.

"It's data, but it's self-selected data, and so it's not really useful for the purposes of policymaking," Turner said.

"Anecdotes matter in the public policy debate, but when you can get actual empirical data, policymakers should strive for that."

Though consumers run Speedtest by choice, the size of Ookla's sample should make it fairly representative, Apgar said.

About 60 percent of the people running tests each month are first-time users of Speedtest, so it's not the same small group of users testing their lines over and over, he said.

"It can't serve as the only way to determine what the state of broadband is .... (but) it would be foolish to overlook a resource like this," Apgar said.

See also: World's richest man backs global broadband roll-out


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