Snapshot: actual Internet upload and download speeds from across the Caribbean

An update of actual Internet upload and download speeds in select Caribbean countries in December 2017.

 

Welcome to 2018!  As much as we will be discussing new ICT/tech trends and developments that are emerging in the Caribbean region, and globally, in this our first original article for the year, we felt it fitting to look back, for just a moment. Here we present the most recent upload and download speeds recorded for fixed and mobile broadband Internet service in the region.

Methodology

Consistent with previous exercises, our source for the Internet speed data is Ookla, a recognised provider of broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications. In order for the transmission speed results for a particular country to be published, a minimum number of unique data points must be recorded in a month. For fixed broadband Internet, over 3,300 unique data points are required, whilst for mobile/cellular Internet, over least 670 unique user results are required.

As a result, only the following 10 Caribbean countries, out of 129 countries listed, were included in the December 2017 Internet speed update:

  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • Trinidad and Tobago.

What kind of fixed broadband speeds are being experienced in the Caribbean?

Based on the number of test points required, the fixed broadband speed test results were reported for only nine Caribbean countries, as shown in Exhibit 1, with Haiti being absent. Globally, the average upload and download speeds in December 2017 were 20.33 Mbps and 40.71 Mbps, respectively, which only Barbados exceeded in both instances.

Exhibit 1: Fixed broadband speeds in select Caribbean countries in December 2017 (Source: Ookla)

In terms of global ranking, Barbados was the highest ranked of the group, at 28th out of 129 countries. The lowest ranking Caribbean country was Belize at 112th. The top 5 countries globally were:  Singapore (161.21 Mbps); Iceland (145.64 Mbps); Hong Kong (141.56 Mbps); South Korea          (132.52 Mbps); Romania (98.64 Mbps)

What kind of mobile broadband speeds are being experienced across the region?

With respect to the mobile broadband speed test results, fewer Caribbean countries were included:  Belize; the Dominican Republic; Haiti; Jamaica; Puerto Rico; and Trinidad and Tobago (see Exhibit 2).  In virtually all of the countries, download speeds of over 10 Mbps were recorded, which is more than adequate to allow high definition video streaming and video messaging, which increasingly is becoming the norm, particularly on mobile/cellular devices.

Exhibit 1: Mobile/cellular broadband speeds in select Caribbean countries in December 2017 (Source: Ookla)

Among the Caribbean group, Belize was ranked the highest, at 59th out of 129 countries, whilst the lowest ranking was Haiti, at 107th. With respect to the global average, which was 21.25 Mbps (download) and 8.88 Mbps (upload), no Caribbean country recorded speeds exceeding those thresholds. Further the top five countries globally recorded download speeds well over double those recorded in the region:  Norway (61.20 Mbps); Malta (54.36 Mbps); Netherlands (54.17 Mbps); Singapore (54.00 Mbps); and the United Arab Emirates (50.20 Mbps).

Some thoughts and observations…

Generally, Internet speeds have been increasing in the Caribbean. Since our last review of July 2017 results, which was limited to fixed broadband download speeds, virtually all countries recorded faster speeds in December 2017. The most notable exception was Puerto Rico, which still recovering from the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

It is also interesting to note that in some instances, the upload and download speeds recorded for mobile/cellular broadband service nearly rivalled or exceeded those recorded for the fixed broadband service. Generally, it is expected that fixed broadband speeds would far exceed those for mobile broadband. In Belize, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica (to a lesser degree), there appears to be a marked emphasis on mobile broadband Internet. Based on the prevalence of mobile/cellular subscriptions when compared with those for fixed-line service, it is not surprising that the mobile/cellular carriers have been focussed on improving and expanding the former, to meet (and even exceed) customers’ needs and exceed.

 

Image credit:  skeeze (Pixabay)

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