Top 5 broadband speeds worldwide

(According to Akamai, a leading Internet monitoring firm. Q1 report, 2012)

1. South Korea – 15.7Mbps*

2. Japan – 10.9Mbps*

3. Hong Kong – 9.3Mbps*

4. Netherlands – 8.8Mbps*

5. Latvia – 8.8Mbps*

*Average broadband connection speed

In May 2012 the UK did not appear in the top 10 ranking for worldwide fastest broadband speeds, with an average of just 6.8Mbps.

Ofcom has more recently revealed that the average UK broadband speed has risen to 9Mbps, thanks to a government initiative that aims to have every community in the UK connected to ‘super-fast’ broadband by 2015. It could however be argued that this development has taken far too long compared to the leading countries in this area; South Korea and Japan. As per the table above, the current average broadband speed in South Korea is 15.7Mbps, which is still almost two times faster than the UKs most recently reported average speed.

What has driven South Korea’s success?

1. South Korea has gained first-mover advantage in several broadband developments, providing the country with fast broadband speeds early on. This has allowed them to focus on further developments for the future, whilst countries such as the UK and USA have to concentrate on playing catch-up.

2. There is significant government support, with continuous investment into a national broadband development strategy. In 2005 for example, South Korea launched ‘Korea Information Infrastructure’, which aimed to connect 84% of households to broadband with speeds of up to 1Mbps. Their latest initiative aims to further improve this by launching 1Gbps broadband services by the end of 2012. The UK in comparison focuses on providing and improving broadband connections in rural areas, rather than making adequate connections faster.

3. High competition between broadband providers in South Korea means that they are forced to lower prices and innovation takes place at a faster pace. As a result the population receives better quality and more efficient broadband services at a lower price in comparison to the UK and many other countries.

4. Faster broadband connections in South Korea are seen to be essential for development and education, which results in a better quality of life for the population. Subsequently there is high demand, which accelerates development.

Roseanna Fletcher