Worldwide Internet Speed on the Rise

If your Internet connection seems a little faster the past few years, there’s good reason. A new study reveals the average worldwide Internet speed increased 23 percent over the twelve-month period from May 2017 to May 2018. The study involved 163 million tests using ISPs located all over the planet.


The planet’s average Internet speed as of May 2018 comes in at 9.1 Mbps. This compares to the global average of 7.4 Mbps reported in May of last year – a significant jump indeed! News about this latest Internet research study appeared this week in Capacity Media.

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Let’s dive into the details on the study and what it means for your own Internet access.

The M-Lab Study on Worldwide Internet Speed

M-Lab, the group behind this Internet speed test, is a partnership made up of some of the biggest names in the telecommunications world. New America Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research, Princeton University’s PlanetLab and other partners are members of this consortium. Cable, a UK-based website, compiled the results.

“Europe, the US and thriving economic centres in the Asia-Pacific region – Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong – are leading the world when it comes to the provision of fast, reliable broadband, which suggests a relationship between available bandwidth and economic health. Those countries leading the world should be congratulated, but we should also be conscious of those that are being left further and further behind,” commented Dan Howdle, an analyst with Cable.

Romania saw one of the largest increases in the M-Lab study. Their mean download speed is 38.6 Mbps, which ranks fifth in the world. Surprisingly, the tiny Asian economic giant, Hong Kong, actually saw a drop in average speed from 27.16 Mbps to 26.45 Mbps.

The fastest Internet speed resides in Singapore. The next five countries are all European: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the previously mentioned Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands. For its part, the United States ranks 20th, with a mean Internet speed of 25.86 Mbps.

Fiber playing a Big Role in improving Broadband Speed

Countries that invest in Fiber are the ones boasting the fastest Internet speeds. In the U.S., the work of Google FiberAT&T, and others is paying dividends. The relative lack of fiber in the United Kingdom is a major reason that country ranks behind its European neighbors.

“This situation must change – and quickly – as successfully rolling out this superior digital infrastructure is critical for the success of the UK economy and our ability to compete internationally,” commented Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, a UK-based fiber installer.

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In the U.S. venerable cable Internet services also show increased speeds. For example, in the Louisville metro area (among other regions) Spectrum now provides a basic Internet speed of 200 Mbps to end-users, a doubling of the previous year’s standard service level. This is a pretty impressive number for a non-fiber service.

With more mobile Internet users streaming 4K video and other bandwidth-intensive rich media content, this increase in worldwide Internet connection speed is definitely welcome. Stay tuned to Bandwidth Place for additional insights from the global Internet service world.