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November 27, 2013

Hard to Believe - America Ranks all of 31st on Recent Consumer Internet Download Speeds Report

Quite some time ago we downloaded Ookla's Speedtest mobile app for our iPhones. Every so often we run the app just to get a sense of where in the grand scheme of things we are in our upload and download speeds - both across our 4G and LTE networks as well as across our Wi-Fi network (in our case at home coming to us courtesy of Optimum Online and Cablevision). For desktops and laptops you can head over to Ookla's Speedtest site. Speedtest compares and ranks consumer download and upload speeds around the globe, calculating the rolling mean in Mbps (megabits per second).

Most recently we ran Speedtest again when we moved over to our iPhone 5s phones. For the most part we get rather dismal results with AT&T - whether we're in 4G or LTE coverage, though LTE is a bit better. Our own typical 4G speed results average 1.29 Mbps on downloads and .29 Mbps on uploads. For LTE we are averaging 4.03 Mbps on uploads and 1.26 Mbps on uploads.

Our iPhone Optimum Wi-Fi download speeds can be ugly (we are using the latest in NetGear Wi-fi routers) - how about 10.2 Mbps on downloads? Typically we average in the neighborhood of 25.5 Mbps downloads, which is still rather embarrassing for us to admit. We have scored 39 Mbps on a completely inconsistent basis as well but these tend to be outlier scores. On uploads for Wi-Fi we'll typically see around 12 Mbps. Our desktop speeds don't fare much better or worse. All in all not an entirely comforting scenario, but it's usable.

All of that said we should feel quite badly about our Internet connections - or we shouldn't feel too badly at all depending on your perspective. Ookla has just updated its aggregated scores and averages on a country by country basis for broadband download speeds and the results are quite interesting. We're sorry to report that in the aggregate 30 countries have faster Internet speeds than the United States does.

Hong Kong came in at the number one position with a quite virtuous download speed of 71.03 Mbps. That was followed by Singapore at 52.85 Mbps, Romania at 50.82 Mbps, South Korea 47.36 Mbps and finally Sweden at 42.64 Mbps. The United States was 31st on the list at 20.77 Mbps. We're right up there neck and neck with…Ukraine at number 32 with 20.63 Mbps and Malta at 20.19 Mbps. Just for the hell of it we'll note that coming in last in position 186 is Afghanistan at 1.13 Mbps.

To be fair we do need to underscore here that we are speaking about consumer-focused and consumer-generated speeds here. On an enterprise level Akamai recently reported in one of its own recent reports that place the United States at number nine just below South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. These countries are all ahead of the U.S. in the Speedtest consumer rankings as well.

So then - back to our question - should we feel badly or not badly? As it turns out our own average mobile and desktop download speeds are apparently a bit better than the aggregate U.S. download speed of 20.77, so we shouldn't feel too badly (at least not about ourselves). But those Hong Kong scores make us feel very badly indeed.

To see the complete list of countries and their rankings head over to Ookla. Download Ookla's mobile Speedtest app from either Google Play or the App store. If you want to find out how bad or good you should feel about your desktop speeds, head over to Ookla's Speednet site and start your engines.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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