Africa still lags in global Internet speed standards

Category: Africa/International, ICT 128

Internet speed in Africa still lags behind in global standards, data from a Global Broadband Speed League (GBSL) has revealed.

It would take more than a day to download a high definition movie of 7.5 gigabytes (GB) in countries with the slowest internet speed in the world, most located in Africa.

According to the study available to the Ghana News Agency, the speed gaps between various countries remained very wide as the five fastest countries have download speeds which are around 40 times faster than the five slowest.

Singapore ranks as the highest on the broadband speed league with 55.13 megabytes per second (Mbps) while with war-torn Yemen props up the list with meager average speed of just 0.34 Mbps.

The data was collected by M-Lab and compiled by Cable.co.uk using data gathered over a 12-month period, until last May, following a research partnership between several partners including New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research and Princeton University’s PlanetLab.

African countries, in general, did not fare well as none of the 39 ranked African countries achieved average speeds above 10Mbps-deemed to be the minimum speed required by consumers “to fully participate in a digital society” by UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom.

Globally, of the 189 countries ranked, 139 countries have failed to achieve that target, meanwhile six of the lowest ranked 10 countries were in Africa.

This research focuses on fixed line broadband tests which tend to put African countries at an added disadvantage with infrastructure challenges, hence slower speeds.

Kenya’s mobile internet speed, the brightest spot on the Continent, is ranked higher than some advanced economies including the United States and is 14th out of 130 countries, according to a report by content delivery network, Akamai.

The reality of slow internet speeds is crucial in several African countries with fledgling tech hubs and ecosystems.

In Lagos, home to a two billion dollar tech ecosystem – the Continent’s most valuable – internet speed and access is often cited as a major limitation by startup founders and their prospective customers.

For better context, the report also measures internet speed in each country by how long it will take to download a HD movie with a size of 7.5 GB, saying it would take less than 20 minutes in Singapore, and take more than a day in DR Congo, Burkina Faso and Gabon, the three worst ranked African countries.

In Kenya, the highest ranked African country, it would take nearly two hours to download the same movie while the worst ranked countries would take 18 hours.

Ghana is ranked 110 and will use seven and half hours of download speed.

Collin Anderson, an independent researcher at M-Lab, said: “The research demonstrates the value of network measurements and open data across countries to understand where countries rank against each other and to provide evidence that facilitate public learning about broadband development.”

Source: GNA

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