Decent internet speed is fast becoming an absolute necessity for businesses to remain competitive in a global economy. The NBN was first envisaged to be a nation building exercise that would deliver world-class Aussie broadband speeds across the nation. Internet Speed is becoming one of the key drivers of business efficiency in many industries and it is a good idea to see how Aussie broadband ranks in comparison to the rest of the world. It has to be said that the news is not all that inspiring.
According to the State of the Internet Report from cloud service provider, Akamai, Australia ranks a lowly 44th for average connection speed. The quarterly report is produced by the US based company and looks specifically at connection speeds and broadband adoption around the world. While Australia has some unique geographical challenges related to size and population density, the vast amount of Australia’s population density is comparable to other countries.
RMIT engineering expert, Dr Mark Gregory, believes that Australia should be able to invest in Internet technologies that are competitive and will make significant improvements to Australia’s International broadband speed ranking. “Fibre-to-the-premise is viable in Australia, mainly because most Australians are clustered around the coast,” he said. “If you look at the density of Australians, then really we don’t differ very much from most other countries in the world, we’re just a large country, but with the technologies that we’ve got today to actually roll out fibre systems, the cost is not that different from most other countries in the world.”
Dr Gregory is fearful that Aussie broadband is falling behind the world and he says that all Australians will notice the slow speed as they switch to the new television services like Netflix, being streamed over the Internet. According to Dr Gregory, these television services will be being supplied to Australians at a lesser quality than other nations, simply because our connections will be a lot slower than the rest of the world. This will result in the service providers being forced to compensate by increasing the compression rate on the video. “Even though they are saying that we are getting high definition, or 4K TV, the actual compression will be far more in other countries and therefore the quality of the video that we are viewing at home will be much lower.” Dr Gregory also pointed out that while Australia is moving to increase Aussie broadband speeds, in many cases, other nations are moving at a somewhat faster pace. “For many other countries around the world of course, they’re moving towards gigabit broadband now and that is super-fast broadband under the new definitions.”
So while Australia is improving broadband speed, comparatively to other nations we are falling behind. New Zealand, Latvia and Romania are all nations that have passed Australia in broadband speed rankings. We have some work to do to improve our country’s competitiveness in this area.