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.

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.

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.

Country Download speed Upload speed
United Arab Emirates (UAE) 193.51 Mbps 28.05 Mbps
South Korea 180.48 Mbps 23.83 Mbps
Qatar 171.76 Mbps 24.46 Mbps
Norway 167.60 Mbps 23.65 Mbps
Cyprus 161.80 Mbps 25.45 Mbps
China 159.47 Mbps 29.97 Mbps
Saudi Arabia 153.18 Mbps 22.99 Mbps
Kuwait 137.51 Mbps 24.38 Mbps
Australia 127.14 Mbps 16.73 Mbps
Luxembourg 112.64 Mbps 20.15 Mbps
Bulgaria 110.40 Mbps 19.48 Mbps
Switzerland 109.51 Mbps 25.26 Mbps
The Netherlands 102.51 Mbps 23.12 Mbps
Denmark 96.85 Mbps 21.96 Mbps
Oman 94.41 Mbps 20.00 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.

Country Download speed Upload speed
1. Monaco 260.74 Mbps 150.09 Mbps
2. Singapore 252.68 Mbps 230.06 Mbps
3. Hong Kong (SAR) 248.94 Mbps 209.38 Mbps
4. Romania 220.67 Mbps 177.05 Mbps
5. Denmark 217.18 Mbps 148.23 Mbps
6. Switzerland 215.57 Mbps 140.19 Mbps
7. Thailand 214.47 Mbps 167.35 Mbps
8. South Korea 212.12 Mbps 188.75 Mbps
9. France 208.15 Mbps 146.69 Mbps
10. Chile 203.61 Mbps 136.99 Mbps
11. Liechtenstein 198.52 Mbps 157.02 Mbps
12. The United States 195.45 Mbps 68.70 Mbps
13. Spain 194.92 Mbps 169.07 Mbps
14. Hungary 194.92 Mbps 91.69 Mbps
15. Andorra 189.38 Mbps 192.82 Mbps

15 countries with the worst mobile internet speeds

Country Download speed Upload speed
1. Afghanistan 7.37 Mbps 3.14 Mbps
2. Venezuela 8.05 Mbps 4.61 Mbps
3. Bangladesh 12.48 Mbps 7.98 Mbps
4. Zimbabwe 12.69 Mbps 6.85 Mbps
5. Sudan 12.85 Mbps 7.60 Mbps
6. Ghana 13.23 Mbps 9.24 Mbps
7. Somalia 13.31 Mbps 11.74 Mbps
8. Tanzania 14.14 Mbps 7.83 Mbps
9. Sri Lanka 14.38 Mbps 6.59 Mbps
10. Zambia 15.44 Mbps 8.35 Mbps
11. Uganda 16.65 Mbps 6.26 Mbps
12. Tajikistan 16.78 Mbps 6.45 Mbps
13. Samoa 17.54 Mbps 25.44 Mbps
14. Algeria 17.73 Mbps 10.21 Mbps
15. Belarus 17.83 Mbps 7.99 Mbps

15 countries with the worst fixed broadband speeds

Country Download speed Upload speed
1. Turkmenistan 4.49 Mbps 8.07 Mbps
2. Yemen 6.14 Mbps 1.60 Mbps
3. Cuba 6.80 Mbps 7.04 Mbps
4. Sudan 8.24 Mbps 8.89 Mbps
5. Algeria 8.45 Mbps 1.61 Mbps
6. Malawi 9.08 Mbps 7.77 Mbps
7. Guinea 9.24 Mbps 10.95 Mbps
8. Niger 10.20 Mbps 13.81 Mbps
9. Syria 10.37 Mbps 12.21 Mbps
10. The Gambia 10.69 Mbps 6.27 Mbps
11. Afghanistan 10.76 Mbps 13.15 Mbps
12. Botswana 10.85 Mbps 10.44 Mbps
13. Tunisia 10.86 Mbps 4.45 Mbps
14. Burundi 10.94 Mbps 10.08 Mbps
15. DR Congo 10.98 Mbps 6.15 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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