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Faster Forward: Broadband Targets Around The World, Part II

As was highlighted in yesterday's post, research into national broadband plans published around the world highlighted the lack of a definitive resource for such information.  As a resource for others interested in similar information, I compiled the results of my research into the chart below, which includes broadband plan targets for key countries around the world, as well as the average and average peak connection speeds for those countries as published in the Q1 2012 State of the Internet report.


The intent of including the average and average peak connection speed measurements was to provide a perspective on how the countries on the list were doing against the goals laid out in their national broadband plans.  (For those countries that specified target speeds, at least.)  As noted in a past blog post, average connection speeds are an average of all of the connection speeds calculated during the quarter from the unique IPv4 addresses determined to be in a specific country, while average peak connection speeds are an average of only the highest connection speeds calculated from each unique IPv4 address determined to be in a specific country - average peak connection speeds are more representative of what an Internet connection is capable of.

While it may appear that many countries have obviously exceeded their broadband plan targets, this should not be the key takeaway from the chart.  Similarly, the intent of the chart is certainly not to suggest that investments in broadband should slow or cease because speed targets have been reached or exceeded.  Note that the speeds calculated by Akamai that are listed in the chart are averages, and as such, can potentially be influenced by a set of particularly high speed connections, or an Internet Service Provider with particularly fast (or slow) connections.  In addition, the Q1 2012 Akamai data in the chart does not address the specific numbers or percentages of households/homes/population that should have access to connections of a certain speed by the target date that many countries call out in their broadband plans.

Having said that, here are some regional observations based on the data presented within the chart:

  • North America: The U.S. target of 100 Mbps connectivity in 2020 should be achievable from a connection speed perspective, but the key factor will be the requirement for "affordable access".
  • Latin & South America: Argentina appears to have the most aggressive target of the listed countries, at 10 Mbps.  In contrast, Venezuela does not appear to have published specific broadband targets.
  • Asia Pacific: The region is a study in contrasts, with countries such as South Korea, Thailand, and Australia aiming for speeds of 100 Mbps, while the Philippines, Malaysia, and India are targeting speeds in the 2-4 Mbps range.
  • Europe: Though the EU has set out general broadband targets, some member countries have created their own national broadband plans, presumably with more aggressive targets.  At the very least, though, it appears that most EU member countries should meet the near-term targets.
  • Middle East & Africa: Both Egypt and Israel are taking step-wise approaches to broadband deployment, aiming to make high speed connections available to more people over time.