Some countries in Europe are close to offering good broadband connections for tomorrow's Internet needs, but Japan is still king when it comes to overall broadband quality. Those were the findings of researchers from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo's Department of Applied Economics, which studied 42 countries in order to get a feel for each nation's ability to benefit from next-generation web applications and services.
The researchers, a team of MBA students from both universities, evaluated each country's Broadband Quality Score based on actual download and upload throughput, latency, and current and future application requirements. The group said that over half of the 42 countries studied enjoyed connections that performed well enough to deliver a consistent experience for common web apps available today, but that Japan was the only country that is "future-ready." And the future, in this case, isn't very far away—the study looked at what Internet users are expected to be doing within the next three to five years.
For example, the researchers say that today's needs—which include social networking, basic video chatting, and standard-def IPTV—only require a fraction of the bandwidth we will soon need to do things like like visual networking, HD video streaming, "consumer telepresence," and large file-sharing. These activities will require a download speed of roughly 11.25Mbps and an upload of 5Mbps, which still isn't common in many countries today.
Sweden is a distant second to Japan, followed by the Netherlands, Latvia, and Korea. The US comes just above Russia on the list of countries prepared for even today's online needs, and it appears to have a long way to go before meeting tomorrow's requirements. Countries that don't even qualify for today's needs include the UK, Spain, Canada, and Australia, with Mexico, China, and India at the very bottom of the list.
Among the factors that create a "high quality" broadband connection, the group says, are education and fiber (or upgraded cable) connections, which in turn affect web usage and the development of knowledge economies. High penetration is dependent upon technology diversity and the number of PCs per capita in each country, which foster innovation, labor productivity, and competitiveness.
"[Today's] average download speeds are adequate for web browsing, e-mail and basic video downloading and streaming, but we are seeing more interactive applications, more user-generated content being uploaded and shared, and an increasing amount of high-quality video services becoming available," Saïd Business School researcher Alastair Nicholson said.
"Moreover, because the study also found significant correlation between a nation's broadband quality and its advancement as a knowledge economy, policy makers may need to consider how to create an environment to improve key broadband performance parameters in the future."
Well, yes, that would make sense, unless you think that the US broadband market is already about the best in the world.Posted on