Have you ever wondered what Internet speeds might actually be experienced in the Caribbean? This new Snapshot examines household Internet upload and download speeds in 25 countries across the region.
In our earlier Snapshot, we examined residential Internet plans and their corresponding prices across the Caribbean. Typically, the advertised speed of those plans is rarely or consistently achieved, since infrastructure and bandwidth are shared. Hence although a customer might be paying for a plan with an advertised download speed of 4 Megabits per second (Mbps), the actual broadband speeds experienced might be around 1.5—2.5 Mbps, depending on the traffic on the network.
In this a new Snapshot, we are exploring what might be actual (real life) upload and download speeds in the Caribbean. We also consider the results in relation to global averages in order determine how individual countries, and the region as a whole, are performing.
The data for this assessment was drawn from Internet uploads and download speed tests conducted by Ookla, a recognised provider of broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications. One of its most popular services is Speedtest.net, through which a range of network speed tests can be performed.
Using the results of those tests, Ookla is able to continuously track Internet speeds and performance globally. It has formulated two indices – a Household Upload Index and a Household Download Index – which compares and ranks consumer upload and download speeds worldwide, and represents them as a rolling mean speed in Mbps over the past 30 days. The firm boasts being able to create those indices having access to five million tests daily, 350 million users annually, and 2,600 testing servers worldwide (Source: Ookla).
The results provided in the following sections, were recorded as of 20 May 2014, and again, are the averaged upload and download speeds over 30 days. Ookla provided indices for 192 countries, which were ranked by speed. We present results for the 28 countries across Caribbean listed in Table 1.
Internet upload speeds across the region
Across the 28 Caribbean countries examined, Internet upload speeds varied considerably as shown in Figure 1. The fastest upload speeds were recorded in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, at 11.68 Mbps. It was followed by St. Martin at 6.87 Mbps, and the Bahamas at 6.36 Mbps. On the other hand, the slowest upload speeds were recorded in Martinique, at 0.86 Mbps, followed by Cuba, at 0.88 Mbps, and Guadeloupe, at 0.91 Mbps. The average household upload speed across that group of countries is 2.87 Mbps
Placing the Caribbean’s performance in a global context, the top three ranked countries worldwide, in terms of household Internet upload speeds, were Hong Kong (66.44 Mbps); Singapore (54.39 Mbps); and Andorra (46.03 Mbps). The global average was 8.12 Mbps. Additionally, the average upload speed among the following country grouping was as follows:
Internet download speeds
Similar to household Internet upload speeds discussed in the previous section, household Internet download speeds varied considerably across the Caribbean, as reflected in Figure 2. The slowest download speeds were recorded in Cuba, at 1.12 Mbps, which was followed by Guyana, at 1.82 Mbps, and Belize, at 2.76 Mbps. On the other hand, the fastest download speed was recorded in the Bahamas, at 17.09 Mbps, and was followed by Curaçao at 13.54 Mbps, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at 11.99 Mbps.
Globally, the fastest household Internet download speeds were recorded in Hong Kong (80.46 Mbps); Singapore (68.71 Mbps); and Romania (56.50 Mbps), and the global average was 18.32 Mbps. The average download speed across the Caribbean was 6.98 Mbps, whilst those across other international country groupings, were as follows:
- APEC – 19.4 Mbps
- EU – 24.8 Mbps
- G8 – 23.5 Mbps
- OECD – 22.9 Mbps.
Some quick thoughts…
Without a doubt, household upload and download speeds in individual Caribbean countries and in the region are considerable lower than those reported in the top ranked countries and the global groupings highlighted above. However, in terms of global ranking by speed, some Caribbean countries are performing relatively well. Table 2 highlights the rank of the Caribbean countries examined, as of 20 May 2014.
ICT Pulse will be adding this metric of performance to list, and provide continued feedback of the results as other related improvements are made in the region.