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Sep 26 2014

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Snapshot: actual Internet upload speeds from across the Caribbean, September 2014

Following from our previous post, we tracked actual Internet upload speeds in 27 Caribbean countries and compared those results with readings recorded in May 2014.

In our previous article, we presented data on actual download speeds across the Caribbean as of 23 September, which updated our initial findings when the exercise was first launched in May 2014. At that time, in May, we also recorded actual upload speeds for 28 countries across the Caribbean, which we presented, and kept to provide a baseline for future assessments.

In this article, we share the results of our recent re-examination of upload speeds across the Caribbean, as of 23 September. Further, using the data from the May exercise, we are now able to compare how upload speed and country ranking have changed over the past four months.

Methodology

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 compare and rank consumer upload and download speeds worldwide (192 countries), and present 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. As indicated in our previous article on actual download speeds, published on 24 September, there were no results for Bonaire, Statia (St. Eustatius) and Saba; hence they have been excluded.

Table 1:  List of countries examined for household download and upload speed exercises on 23 September 2014 (ICT Pulse)

Table 1: List of countries examined for household download and upload speed exercises on 23 September 2014 (ICT Pulse)

Caribbean Internet upload speeds

Internet upload speeds varied considerably across the 27 Caribbean countries examined, as shown in Figure 1. The fastest upload speed was recorded in Haiti, which was ranked 59th out of the 192 countries assessed, at 6.84 Mbps. It was followed by Curaçao, at 5.14 Mbps and 75th on the list, and Dominica at 4.75 Mbps, and 79th on the list. On the other hand, the slowest upload speeds were recorded in Cuba, 0.71 Mbps, which was 186th out of 192 countries. Immediately above Cuba was Guadeloupe, 1.22 Mbps and ranked 173rd, and Belize, at 1.56 Mbps, at 166 out of 192 countries. The average upload speed across the Caribbean countries examined was 2.82 Mbps.

Figure 1:  Mean household Internet upload speeds in select Caribbean countries as of 23 September 2014 (Source: Ookla)

Figure 1: Mean household Internet upload speeds in select Caribbean countries as of 23 September 2014 (Source: Ookla)

For other international country groupings, their averaged upload speeds were as follows:

  • APEC: 10.50 Mbps
  • EU: 9.10 Mbps
  • G8: 10.60 Mbps
  • OECD: 8.30 Mbps.

Worldwide, the fastest household Internet upload speeds were recorded in Hong Kong (89.14 Mbps); Singapore (63.27 Mbps); and South Korea (47.00 Mbps), and the global average was 9.10 Mbps.

What changes have occurred since May 2014?

Generally, household upload speeds have changed drastically over the past four months. The average speed across the Caribbean dropped by 0.05 Mbps, from 2.87 Mbps in May. However, across other groups of countries, increases in upload speeds were recorded:

  • APEC: +1.00 Mbps
  • EU: +1.10 Mbps
  • G8: +1.00 Mbps
  • OECD: +1.20 Mbps.

Figure 2 shows the changes in household upload speed in individual Caribbean countries. The greatest increases in uploads speeds were recorded in Haiti, by +3.74 Mbps, and followed by Dominica, which recorded a +1.66 Mbps increase, and Barbados, by +1.47 Mbps. Conversely, the top three countries where upload speeds reportedly slowed considerably were: St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a drop of -9.65 Mbps; Saint Martin, where the average upload speed slowed by -4.08 Mbps; and the Bahamas, with a decrease of -1.64 Mbps.

Figure 2:  Changes in mean upload speeds in select Caribbean countries between May 2014 and September 2014 (Source: Ookla)

Figure 2: Changes in mean upload speeds in select Caribbean countries between May 2014 and September 2014 (Source: Ookla)

Similar to the observation made when examining the download speed results, the countries that now recorded slower uploads than in May, were likely to slip in the country rankings, which is presented in Figure 3. However, there were exceptions: the Dominican Republic, which recorded a 0.12 Mbps increase in upload speed, dropped seven places; Saint Kitts and Nevis, which recorded a 0.01 Mbps increase in upload speed, dropped 14 places

It is also interesting to note that the United States Virgin Islands, which maintained its position in the ranking, at 102, had recorded a 0.44 Mbps increase in its upload speed. Hence, with other countries worldwide continually improving their Internet speeds, marginal improvements might not be enough for a country to maintain its position on the leader board.

Figure 3:  Change in mean household upload speed ranking between May 2014 and September 2014 in select Caribbean countries (Source: Ookla)

Figure 3: Change in mean household upload speed ranking between May 2014 and September 2014 in select Caribbean countries (Source: Ookla)

In most countries worldwide, including those in the Caribbean, Internet upload speeds are several times slower than that for download. In the region, we are not necessarily seen as major creators of content, and to an appreciable extent, relatively little content is actually hosted in the Caribbean. Instead, we are seen as significant consumers of content – most of which is hosted outside of the Caribbean. As a result, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) tend to allocate considerably greater bandwidth for downloading, than for uploading.

Having said this, the inclusive nature and corresponding impact of social networks to encourage engagement generally, and in the Caribbean specifically, ought not to be underestimated. Thanks to social networks, hundreds of thousands and even millions of Caribbean residents have become creators of content. They are continually uploading photos, video clips, and large volumes of text/comments, all of which consume bandwidth.

It therefore means that Caribbean ISPs may need to give some consideration to increasing the bandwidth allocated for uploading, so that their consumers can experience improved upload speeds and better performance in the future.

 

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About the author

Michele Marius

Michele Marius has a wealth of experience in the telecoms and ICT space, which has been gained in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, and in the public and private sectors. She is the Editor and Publisher of ICT Pulse.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ict-pulse.com/2014/09/snapshot-actual-internet-upload-speeds-caribbean-september-2014/