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December 30, 2015

Wi-Fi et une Baguette: Hit France for the Best in Wi-Fi Connection

When we think of connectivity, thoughts often jump to Japan or South Korea, powerhouses in terms of connectivity with impressive speeds available almost everywhere in their countries. But there are some surprising other places to find the best in connectivity, and a new report from Goldman Sachs and iPass suggests that the best place to get a Wi-Fi signal is in France.

The report notes that, on average, there are roughly 200 hotspots for every 1,000 people in France, or one for every five people. That sounds impressive, and only gets better when it's noted that the United States' average is somewhere around one for every 40 people, or about eight times better in France.

The United States is about the middle-ranked country in terms of Wi-Fi connectivity, beaten not only by France but also by Belgium, the Netherlands, the U.K., and just barely by Poland. The United States did beat some surprising names, including Japan and Germany. Brazil and China came in lowest on the list. That's not particularly surprising, given China's penchant for censoring the Web.

It's worth noting here that the countries that beat the United States are much, much smaller in terms of geography. France, for example, is slightly smaller than the state of Texas, while Belgium and the Netherlands are approximately the size of Maryland. Poland is closely compared to New Mexico, and the U.K has several approximate states, with both Wyoming and Michigan said to be equal to 1.03 United Kingdoms.

So what does that have to do with the price of bandwidth in Beijing? The idea is simple; a smaller area with a higher population density will be inherently easier to connect to Wi-Fi than a more geographically-dispersed area without much population contained therein. It makes sense for businesses to focus on these tighter areas, which is why major cities often have the most selection when it comes to online connection options. It's also why rural dwellers are often happy to see anyone come around to offer a connection, because it's likely the first—and possibly only—time such will happen. That France is swimming in Wi-Fi when the entire country fits in a state makes sense; there's a lot less ground to cover, and so companies can get access to a better profit profile.

Indeed, smaller countries are more likely to be better connected than larger because it's easier and more profitable so to do. When it's not necessary to run hundreds of miles of cable to connect hundreds of households, there's more eagerness to get in and get a piece of the market that has a low barrier to entry. So enjoy your connectivity, France; one day, hopefully, we'll catch up.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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