Analysis of over 1.1 billion broadband speed tests worldwide has revealed where almost every country, territory and region sits in terms of its internet speeds. The research was designed and compiled by Cable.co.uk , and the data gathered by M-Lab, an open source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private sector companies. M-Lab is led by teams based at Code for Science and Society, New America's Open Technology Institute, Google, Princeton University's PlanetLab, and other supporting partners.
Last year, the five fastest countries had download speeds around 276 times faster than the five slowest. That gap is narrowing for the first time since the study began in 2017. This year the top five are 202 times faster than the five slowest. This indicates that the fastest countries are slowing in terms of speed growth, while the slowest countries are gathering speed.
As seen in the league table, downloading an HD movie of 5GB in size would take 2m 29s at the average speed experienced in table-topper Jersey, while it would take 22h 34m in last-placed Turkmenistan.
34 of the top 50 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe (Eastern, Western and Baltics), with seven in Asia (Ex. Near East), three in the Caribbean region, four in Northern America, one in Sub-Saharan Africa and one in Oceania. By contrast, 31 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa, six are in Asia (Ex. Near East), four are in the Near East, two are in the CIS (Former USSR) region, five are in Oceania, and one each in South America and the Caribbean region.
94 countries failed to achieve average speeds of 10Mbps or greater, the speed deemed by UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business. This is down from 109 countries in 2020, indicating significant speed improvements in many parts of the world.
Northern Africa recorded the lowest overall internet speeds as a collective region, with all six qualifying countries in the bottom half of the table. Mauritania (2.54Mbps) recorded the slowest speed in 203rd place, followed by Algeria (3.08Mbps, 194th), and Libya (3.73Mbps, 188th). Morocco (10.33Mbps, 129th), Tunisia (7.46Mbps, 153rd), and Egypt (6.94Mbps, 162nd) offered the fastest speed in the region.
49 countries were measured in the second-slowest region Sub-Saharan Africa, 46 of which found themselves in the lowest 50% of countries in the league table. Going against the trend somewhat were Réunion (43.62Mbps, 50th), South Africa (19.94Mbps, 90th), and Madagascar (16.28Mbps, 105th). Meanwhile, Ethiopia (1.20Mbps, 222nd), Guinea Bissau (1.24Mbps, 221st), Equatorial Guinea (1.30Mbps, 220th), South Sudan (1.40Mbps, 218th), Djibouti (1.46Mbps, 216th), and Somalia (1.59Mbps, 215th) all fell within the bottom ten countries in the world for network speed.
Most Central American countries found themselves toward the middle of the league table. The region as a whole has an average speed of 16.03Mbps, but there are winners and losers in the region. The fastest average speeds can be found in Panama (30.58Mbps, 72nd), Belize (23.12Mbps, 79th), and Costa Rica (19.02Mbps, 97th). Meanwhile, Honduras (7.17Mbps, 159th), Nicaragua (9.75Mbps, 134th), and Guatemala (9.85Mbps,
133rd) all performed comparatively poorly.
27 countries were measured in the Asia (ex. Near East) region, which clocked in a regional average speed of 29.11Mbps. The fastest average speeds were measured in Macau (128.56Mbps, 7th), Singapore (97.61Mbps, 11th), and Japan (96.36Mbps, 13th). Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (1.33Mbps, 219th), Afghanistan (1.41Mbps, 217th), and China (2.06Mbps, 209th) were the slowest in the region, with Timor-Leste and Afghanistan finding themselves in the bottom ten countries in the world.
The 13 countries measured in South America span from the middle to the lower end of the table, with a regional average speed of 13.02Mbps. The fastest internet in South America can be found in Brazil (33.34Mbps, 68th), Uruguay (21.73Mbps, 82nd), Paraguay (19.41Mbps, 94th). Venezuela (2.62Mbps, 201st), Bolivia (7.36Mbps, 157th), and Suriname (7.44Mbps, 156th) were the slowest in the region.
Of the 15 qualifying countries in Oceania, most were in the bottom half of the speed table. The region has an overall average of 16.95Mbps. Leading the regional table here is New Zealand (85.95Mbps, 20th), which trounces second-place (in the region) Australia (40.50Mbps, 55th), and New Caledonia (31.79Mbps, 69th). The slowest in the region were the Federated States of Micronesia (1.63Mbps, 214th), Vanuatu (2.90Mbps, 198th) and Palau (4.48Mbps, 182nd).
Of the 11 CIS (former USSR) nations in the table, most can be found from the middle of the table downwards. The region had an average speed of 12.87Mbps. The top-three fastest nations in the region were Russian Federation (35.73Mbps, 66th), Ukraine (25.26Mbps, 77th), and Belarus (19.86Mbps, 92nd). The slowest countries in the region were Turkmenistan (also slowest in the world - 0.50Mbps, 224th), Tajikistan (1.82Mbps, 211th) and Kazakhstan (5.83Mbps, 173rd). Both Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were among the slowest ten places in the world.
All 29 countries measured in Western Europe were in the top half of the table, with countries in the region taking eight of the top ten spots in the world for internet speed. The regional average speed of 90.56Mbps makes it the fastest of the 13 global regions overall. Impressive average speeds were measured for regional top-three Jersey (274.27Mbps, 1st in the world), Liechtenstein (211.26Mbps, 2nd) and Iceland (191.83Mbps, 3rd). The slowest places in the region were Faroe Islands (21.59Mbps, 83rd), Guernsey (31.20Mbps, 71st), and Italy (36.69Mbps, 61st).
Five countries were measured in Northern America, all of which were in the top quarter of the table. The region as a whole has an average speed of 71.68Mbps. Bermuda (96.54Mbps, 12th) and the United States (92.42Mbps, 14th) led the region with impressive averages. Meanwhile, Canada (79.96Mbps, 24th), Saint Pierre and Miquelon (47.92Mbps, 48th), and Greenland (41.56Mbps, 52nd) were the slowest in the region, but none of them were 'slow' compared to the rest of the world.
The 15 countries in the Near East measured for this year's speed league table span the middle to the bottom of the table. The average speed for the region is 15.38Mbps. The fastest countries were Israel (34.97Mbps, 67th), United Arab Emirates (29.90Mbps, 73rd) and Cyprus (28.30Mbps, 76th). The slowest were Yemen (0.68Mbps, 223rd), Syrian Arab Republic (1.67Mbps, 213th) and Palestine (3.65Mbps, 190th).
There are 16 qualifying countries in the Eastern Europe region, all of which are in the top half of the table, with one (Hungary) making it into the top ten, and six others in the top 50. Overall the region averages 46.22Mbps. The fastest three were Hungary (104.07Mbps, 10th), Romania (67.40Mbps, 29th) and Slovenia (67.20Mbps, 30th). The slowest three were North Macedonia (15.38Mbps, 107th), Albania (19.36Mbps, 96th), and Kosovo (22.21Mbps, 81st).
The Baltics, comprising three qualifying countries, ranked entirely within the top 50, and have an overall regional average of 68.06Mbps. Estonia fared best in 22nd place overall and with an average speed of 84.72Mbps. Lithuania (56.17Mbps, 37th), and Latvia (63.28Mbps, 33rd) followed behind fairly closely.
Overall the Caribbean region fared well for what are essentially island nations, with three of its 27 countries featuring in the top 50 fastest countries in the world. Overall, the region offers a respectable 26.40Mbps on average. At the faster end, Cayman Islands (71.47Mbps, 27th), Aruba (70.66Mbps, 28th), and Barbados (55.92Mbps, 38th) led the way, while Cuba (2.92Mbps, 196th), Sint Maarten (6.15Mbps, 170th), and Antigua and Barbuda (8.69Mbps, 141st) were the slowest.
Commenting on the worldwide rankings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk , said:
"The acceleration of the fastest countries in the world has finally plateaued this year as they reach FTTP pure fibre saturation. Increases in speed among the elite performers, then, can be attributed in greater part to uptake in many cases than to network upgrades.
"Meanwhile, though the countries occupying the bottom end of the table still suffer from extremely poor speeds, 2021's figures do indicate that the situation is improving.
"Europe absolutely dominates the leaderboard once again thanks to largely excellent infrastructure. In all cases, those countries ranking highest are those with a strong focus on pure fibre (FTTP) networks, with those countries dawdling too much on FTTC and ADSL solutions slipping further down year-on-year."