Countries with the best (and worst) internet connections

Anton P. | July 23, 2021

A stable and reliable internet connection is an indispensable component of modern society. However, just how unwavering it is heavily depends on users’ locations. In certain countries, citizens can enjoy uninterrupted, carefree, and fast-moving digital life. Sadly, others are bound to flawed ordeals of sluggish or nearly unusable internet. Thus, let’s discuss why the agility of internet connections varies and just how different it is worldwide.

TL;DR – You can find some of the best internet speeds in Monaco, Singapore, and Hong Kong (SAR). The slowest speeds are in Turkmenistan, Yemen, and Cuba. To maintain and improve speeds, pick VPN servers closest to your location.

Why do internet speeds vary between regions?

Although simple on the surface, internet speed is a complex notion linked to many variables. Users judge it based on the elapsed time from start to finish of a specific task. For instance, higher speed allows websites to open faster or media content to load quickly and in superior quality.

However, it is not all about the plan you choose from a particular ISP (Internet Service Provider). Just because you pay for the most expensive package does not mean that your connection will compare to world-leading ones.

Here are some of the reasons why internet performance is a multiplex issue. Unfortunately, many conditions are out of regular users’ control. It might relate to government decisions or even the physical environment.

Main reasons for connectivity problems

  • Location of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). Data travels in paths. And, sadly, sometimes the route available is not exactly the shortest. IXPs are physical infrastructures via which ISPs and content delivery networks (CDNs) exchange internet traffic among networks and peers. Thus, in some instances, data from one country needs to travel through entirely different regions or even continents. Only then can it reach the intended destinations. As a result, countries with more IXPs will be better equipped to deal with local traffic and avoid sending it abroad.
  • Size of IXPs. The larger Internet Exchange Points are, the more bandwidth they can deliver. Then, ISPs take it and forward it to their customers at a set price. If the IXP is large and closer to the recipient, the internet performance will likely be of better quality. You can find a map of all IXPs here.
  • Smaller countries might have the upper hand. In large regions, it is fairly expensive to run the necessary cables. Hence, the implementation of internet infrastructure might be somewhat inadequate due to the high costs of running fiber optics. In countries with smaller population densities, fewer cables can be sufficient enough to serve all citizens. Why? More bandwidth will be available per fiber strand. Thus, smaller and less dense locations have the potential of having fast internet cost-effectively.
  • Lack of competition among ISPs. A healthy rivalry between companies is a must in any industry. It drives innovation and pushes providers to offer products superior to their competitors. However, in many countries, ISPs avoid the rivalry between companies. As noted by TheVerge, ISPs in the US divide territories to avoid stepping on each other’s toes. It leaves many citizens with limited options of choosing an internet company. In specific locations, only one provider might offer their services. Thus, the lack of competition might stop internet providers from upgrading gear or increasing bandwidth.

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The best and the worst internet speeds worldwide

According to different resources, exact rankings might differ slightly. However, the general statistics represent which regions are blessed with the most satisfying speeds (or the opposite).

Top 15 countries with the best mobile internet speeds

All rankings are from June 2021, as revealed in a recent report.

Before enumerating the countries that excel in internet connectivity, please remember several facts. The global average download speed is approximately 55 Mbps. However, the average upload speed is 12 Mbps. Generally, download speed is much higher than upload. For instance, some airports choose to provide lower upload speed to do more with less bandwidth.

CountryDownload speedUpload speed
United Arab Emirates (UAE)193.51 Mbps28.05 Mbps
South Korea180.48 Mbps23.83 Mbps
Qatar171.76 Mbps24.46 Mbps
Norway167.60 Mbps23.65 Mbps
Cyprus161.80 Mbps25.45 Mbps
China159.47 Mbps29.97 Mbps
Saudi Arabia153.18 Mbps22.99 Mbps
Kuwait137.51 Mbps24.38 Mbps
Australia127.14 Mbps16.73 Mbps
Luxembourg112.64 Mbps20.15 Mbps
Bulgaria110.40 Mbps19.48 Mbps
Switzerland109.51 Mbps25.26 Mbps
The Netherlands102.51 Mbps23.12 Mbps
Denmark96.85 Mbps21.96 Mbps
Oman94.41 Mbps20.00 Mbps

Top 15 countries with the best fixed broadband speeds

The global average download speed here is 106.61 Mbps. For the upload speed, the average is 57.67 Mbps.

CountryDownload speedUpload speed
1.Monaco260.74 Mbps150.09 Mbps
2.Singapore252.68 Mbps230.06 Mbps
3.Hong Kong (SAR)248.94 Mbps209.38 Mbps
4.Romania220.67 Mbps177.05 Mbps
5.Denmark217.18 Mbps148.23 Mbps
6.Switzerland215.57 Mbps140.19 Mbps
7.Thailand214.47 Mbps167.35 Mbps
8.South Korea212.12 Mbps188.75 Mbps
9.France208.15 Mbps146.69 Mbps
10.Chile203.61 Mbps136.99 Mbps
11.Liechtenstein198.52 Mbps157.02 Mbps
12.The United States195.45 Mbps68.70 Mbps
13.Spain194.92 Mbps169.07 Mbps
14.Hungary194.92 Mbps91.69 Mbps
15.Andorra189.38 Mbps192.82 Mbps

15 countries with the worst mobile internet speeds

CountryDownload speedUpload speed
1.Afghanistan7.37 Mbps3.14 Mbps
2.Venezuela8.05 Mbps4.61 Mbps
3.Bangladesh12.48 Mbps7.98 Mbps
4.Zimbabwe12.69 Mbps6.85 Mbps
5.Sudan12.85 Mbps7.60 Mbps
6.Ghana13.23 Mbps9.24 Mbps
7.Somalia13.31 Mbps11.74 Mbps
8.Tanzania14.14 Mbps7.83 Mbps
9.Sri Lanka14.38 Mbps6.59 Mbps
10.Zambia15.44 Mbps8.35 Mbps
11.Uganda16.65 Mbps6.26 Mbps
12.Tajikistan16.78 Mbps6.45 Mbps
13.Samoa17.54 Mbps25.44 Mbps
14.Algeria17.73 Mbps10.21 Mbps
15.Belarus17.83 Mbps7.99 Mbps

15 countries with the worst fixed broadband speeds

CountryDownload speedUpload speed
1.Turkmenistan4.49 Mbps8.07 Mbps
2.Yemen6.14 Mbps1.60 Mbps
3.Cuba6.80 Mbps7.04 Mbps
4.Sudan8.24 Mbps8.89 Mbps
5.Algeria8.45 Mbps1.61 Mbps
6.Malawi9.08 Mbps7.77 Mbps
7.Guinea9.24 Mbps10.95 Mbps
8.Niger10.20 Mbps13.81 Mbps
9.Syria10.37 Mbps12.21 Mbps
10.The Gambia10.69 Mbps6.27 Mbps
11.Afghanistan10.76 Mbps13.15 Mbps
12.Botswana10.85 Mbps10.44 Mbps
13.Tunisia10.86 Mbps4.45 Mbps
14.Burundi10.94 Mbps10.08 Mbps
15.DR Congo10.98 Mbps6.15 Mbps
Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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