Research from Oxford University's Saïd Business School on the quality of broadband connections around the globe has revealed continued improvements worldwide.
According to the study, global broadband quality has improved by 50% in three years and penetration of broadband continued to improve, with about half of the households (49%) of the countries investigated now having access to broadband (up from 40% in 2008).
Using the data from 40 million real-life broadband quality tests conducted in May-June of 2010 on the Internet speed testing site, speedtest.net, the researchers evaluated the broadband quality of 72 countries around the globe.
The research revealed that the average global download speed has increased 49% in three years (3,271 Kbps in 2008, 4882 Kbps in 2009 and 5,920 Kbps in 2010) and the average global upload speed has increased 69% in three years (794 Kbps in 2008, 1,345 Kbps in 2009. 1,777 Kbps in 2010).
Average latency has fallen by 25% to 142ms as compared to 189ms in 2008.
The report said that 48 countries, (66%), are meeting the requirements to enjoy all the major services offered by the Internet today, as well as not so demanding applications such as instant messaging, email, web browsing.
Fourteen countries are already prepared for the "Internet applications of tomorrow", such as high definition Internet TV and high quality video communications services which are expected to become mainstream in just a few years time. This is up from nine countries in 2009 and just one in 2008 (Japan).
The study reaffirms positive link between broadband leadership and innovation economies, and found that broadband leadership is strongly associated with competitiveness, knowledge economy and innovation.
49% of the households of all the countries studied have access to broadband, up from 40% in 2008 and 47% in 2009, and the latency of mobile broadband has improved by 45% in one year, from 1313ms to 724ms.
While on average the quality of mobile broadband is far below that of fixed-line, about 30% of users experienced download throughputs above 1.3 Mbps (the threshold for today´s applications in mobile), the study said.
According to the research, 10% of users are already enjoying average download speeds of 3.75 Mbps and uploads of ca. 1 Mbps, and latency below 110ms.
The research found that basic digital homes which mainly use the web for simple-quality requirement applications such as web browsing, instant messaging and social networking, consume about 20 GB per month.
Smart and connected households, who would use the web for high definition video communication, high definition entertainment, tele-education or telemedicine, home security and others, consume 500 GB per month and require an assured bandwidth of 18 Mbps.