The power of perception

Akamai, the Internet content delivery network released the latest of its well-known State of the Internet report this week and the good news is that the world, for the large part, is getting faster.

Global average broadband connection speeds saw a 13 per cent growth over the third quarter of 2012, with several countries seeing very significant increase in overall average speeds.

Countries with the biggest increase in average speeds YoY were Taiwan in eighth place globally, with a 50 per cent increase to 42.7Mbps, Israel, in fifth overall with a 55 per cent increase to 47.7Mbps, and Singapore in fourth place with an amazing 63 per cent increase, hitting a peak average of 63Mbps.

One region that saw particularly significant growth was Asia Pacific. Of the surveyed countries in that region none saw growth below 10 per cent, with Taiwan seeing a YoY change for the region of 84 per cent. The country with the fastest peak speeds in the region, Hong Kong, is also the fastest for average peak speeds globally at 65Mbps.

Two countries in the region that get a must try harder report are India, at just 9Mbps and Indonesia at 9.7MBps, the latter representing a drop of 22 per cent YoY.


Here in old Blighty, we enjoy an average peak speed of 35.7Mbps, but globally four of the top five countries with the fastest average speeds are all in Asia.

Ironically, while Asian operators might have the fastest networks, they are struggling to monetise them. Despite this in this post by Informa’s Senior Analyst Tony Brown, we learn that Japanese cable operator Tonami Satellite Communications, which is abandoning its HFC network in favour of a full Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH), – but appears to not be sure why they are so doing.

Brown writes that the, “…need for additional bandwidth is not the main driver for Tonami’s move from HFC to FTTH – after all, they could get that by migrating to DOCSIS 3.1 over HFC. Instead, Tonami president, Tsuneharu Kawai, says that the move is motivated by the fact that local consumer sentiment has moved strongly towards FTTH over any other access technology. “The [public] perception of FTTH networks is very positive and the concept of delivering Internet services via FTTH is very popular – that is one of the main reasons we went for deploying FTTH,” Kawai says.

Wait, what?

More from the Tonami president.

“We found that Japanese subscribers using very high-speed FTTH Internet services didn’t really know how to use them or even have any plan to make use of the very high speeds,” he says. “In fact, [they are buying 1Gbps FTTH services because] they have the perception that FTTH equals a much higher quality service compared to anything else.”

Because of perception?

It seems very hard to believe that a company is investing in an entirely new network just based on the fact that some customers, perceive full fibre to be a superior technology, even when their existing network might be fully capable of delivering what they need.

This might a true in Japan, where they are more clued up about technology. Though of course that might just be my perception from the UK. Certainly in the UK people might focus on speed, but I don’t think many care whether it’s from HFC or from FTTC. (FTTH is not a mainstream proposition yet).

If that’s true that’s one expensive perception.

It would save operators a huge amount of money if they were able to eke more out of their existing networks and yet satisfy customer demand, without having to invest in a new technology, essentially for the sake of it. Certainly that’s the argument that’s pitting the likes of Malcolm Turnball against going full fibre for Australia’s NBN, and the likes of Google, who have a install-it-and-see approach to Gigabit fibre.

In the mean-time enjoy this list. And it is a list.
The top 20 places to find the world’s fastest internet:

  1. Hong Kong, 65.4 Mbps
  2. South Korea, 63.6 Mbps
  3. Japan, 52 Mbps
  4. Singapore, 50.1 Mbps
  5. Israel, 47.7 Mbps
  6. Romania, 45.4 Mbps
  7. Latvia, 43.1 Mbps
  8. Taiwan, 42.7 Mbps
  9. Netherlands, 39.6 Mbps
  10. Belgium, 38.5 Mbps
  11. Switzerland, 38.4 Mbps
  12. Bulgaria, 37 Mbps
  13. United States, 37 Mbps
  14. Kuwait, 36.4 Mbps
  15. United Arab Emirates, 36 Mbps
  16. United Kingdom, 35.7 Mbps
  17. Canada, 34.8 Mbps
  18. Czech Republic, 34.8 Mbps
  19. Macau, 34.4 Mbps
  20. Sweden, 33.1 Mbps

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