An update of actual Internet download speeds in 27 Caribbean countries and a comparison with results recorded in May 2014.
Just over four months ago, May 2014, we launched a new Snapshot that presented actual (real life) upload and download speeds from across the Caribbean. In that exercise, data for 28 countries was highlighted, which also established a baseline for future comparison.
In light of the dynamic nature of the Internet globally, and even in the Caribbean, where Internet Service Providers are continually fine-tuning their networks and services, and consumer behaviour among Caribbean Internet users is also changing as the market base grows, this exercise might need more frequent updating. Unlike the previous article, where both upload and download speed data was presented, in this instance, we will focus on download speed, and compare the new results with those recorded in May.
Similar to the May 2014 exercise, the data for this assessment was drawn from Internet speed tests conducted by Ookla, a recognised provider of broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications. Using the results of its speed test applications, it is able to continuously track Internet speeds and performance globally. Ookla has formulated two indices – a Household Upload Index and a Household Download Index – which compares and ranks consumer upload and download speeds worldwide (192 countries), and represents them as a rolling mean speed in Megabits per second (Mbps) over the past 30 days.
The results presented in the next section were recorded on 23 September 2014 for the countries listed in Table 1. Unlike the May 2014 exercise, which covered 28 countries, there were no results for Bonaire, Statia (St. Eustatius) and Saba; hence they have been excluded.
Internet download speeds
Internet download speeds varied considerably across the 27 Caribbean countries examined, as shown in Figure 1. The fastest download speed was recorded in Curaçao, which was ranked 54th out of the 192 countries assessed, at 15.94 Mbps, and was followed by the Bahamas at 14.04 Mbps and 64th on the list, and Aruba at 12.47 Mbps, and 72nd on the list. At the other end of the spectrum, the slowest download speeds were recorded in Cuba, 1.65 Mbps, which was 185th, and thereafter, Guyana, 2.30 Mbps and was ranked 181, and Belize, at 2.64 Mbps, and 174th out of 192 countries.
Globally, the fastest household Internet download speeds were recorded in Hong Kong (94.10 Mbps); Singapore (78.33 Mbps); and Romania (55.68 Mbps), and the global average was 20.54 Mbps. The average download speed across the Caribbean countries examined was 7.72 Mbps, whilst those across other international country groupings, were as follows:
- APEC: 22.50 Mbps
- EU: 26.50 Mbps
- G8: 26.80 Mbps
- OECD: 25.90 Mbps.
What changes have occurred since May 2014?
Generally, household download speeds have increased over the past four months. The average speed across the Caribbean rose by 0.74 Mbps, from 6.98 Mbps. Similarly, and across other groups of countries, the following change in speeds occurred:
- APEC: +3.10 Mbps
- EU: +1.70 Mbps
- G8: +3.30 Mbps
- OECD: +3.00 Mbps.
With regard to the changes in household download speed in individual Caribbean countries, they varied widely, as shown in Figure 2. The greatest increases in downloads speeds were recorded in Martinique, by 3.73 Mbps, and followed by Haiti, by 3.30 Mbps, and Curacao, by 2.40 Mbps. Conversely, the top three countries that recorded considerably slower download speeds were: St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a drop of -4.64 Mbps; the Bahamas, where the average download speed slowed by -3.05 Mbps; and Saint Martin, with a decrease of -1.38 Mbps.
Unsurprisingly, the eight countries that recorded lower averaged download speeds, also slipped in the country ranking (Figure 3). However, two additional countries, Aruba and Grenada, also lost their earlier positions, though they both recorded increased download speeds. Also, Trinidad and Tobago, which recorded an increase in download speed of 0.85 Mbps, was only able to maintain its May ranking, at 73.
Emphasising earlier discussions we have had, for example on the region’s network readiness performance, an improvement in scores does not necessarily guarantee a better ranking, as other countries might be improving at a faster rate. However, noting that download speeds are being tracked continually and averaged over a 30-day period, the effect of recent network upgrades might not yet be fully evident in the results published. Conversely, recent incidents that might have resulted in slower speeds, such as broken submarine or terrestrial cables, or denial of service attacks, could still be contributing to (lowering) the averaged speed recorded.