Internet quality, speed, price and security worldwide

Anton P. | August 16, 2022

Internet quality depends on multiple factors. On a personal level, it can be about the speed each user receives. It relates to chosen internet packages, the number of connected devices, or Wi-Fi interference. However, more profound issues with internet quality exist worldwide. Some countries offer limited connection speeds and providers or significantly restrict users’ access. 

This article discusses various global factors affecting internet connectivity. Additionally, we discuss the cybersecurity atmosphere and how countries have prepared to deal with overwhelming cyber threats. 

internet quality worldwide

Global internet usage

A stable internet connection can seem a fundamental part of civilian and corporate life. And with the 5.03 billion people going online, its influence is undeniable. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also sparked a significant growth spurt for global connectivity. From 2019 to 2021, the number of internet users rose from 4.1 billion to 4.9 billion. 

However, nearly 3 billion people remain outside this internet connectivity bubble. Even those who connect to the digital space might not have stable access. 

They might go online infrequently, relying on shared devices within communities. In other cases, people can face extremely slow connection speeds, making the internet practically unusable. 

global internet use

In Europe 

  • In 2021, the share of households with internet access reached 92%. 
  • In 2020, Germany had 79.13 million internet users, the highest number in Europe. Its total population was 83.24 million the same year. 
  • In 2020, Malta had the smallest number of internet users, 390 thousand. Its total population was 525,285 the same year. 

In America 

  • As of January 2022, the USA has 307.2 million internet users.
  • 26.71 million people in the USA did not use the internet at the beginning of 2022. 
  • In Latin America, Brazil has the highest number of internet users: 165.3 million as of January 2022. Uruguay has the lowest online population: 2.91 million. 

In Africa

  • In 2021, 4 out of 10 people in Africa had internet access. 
  • The internet penetration in Africa stood at 43.1% in 2021. The global penetration is 66.2%. Despite efforts, internet use in Africa remains to be one of the lowest worldwide. 
  • As of January 2022, Morocco has the highest internet penetration: 84.1%. The Central African Republic has the lowest share of internet users: 7.1%. 

In Asia 

  • In 2021, the Asia-Pacific region reached over 2.5 billion internet users. Half of them are from China or India. 
  • As of June 2021, China has the biggest internet user share in Asia: over 35%. India contributes over 27%. However, Indonesia is third, but its share is only 7.7%. 
  • However, internet connectivity in Asia-Pacific countries is highly varied. Mobile internet coverage remains complicated in countries like Indonesia and Pakistan. 

Internet speed 

Internet quality is a crucial factor in achieving your online goals. There are many factors that might contribute to internet speed in a country: 

  • Size of the country. The internet infrastructure in a country can depend on its size. For instance, running fiber optics backhauls in a large region costs more than in a relatively small country. 
  • Population density. The number of people living in a country determines the number of cables necessary to support connections. The bigger the population density, the more cables will be required. 
  • Infrastructure. Newer infrastructures are much more advanced than older ones. However, updating outdated systems can be nearly impossible due to the high costs.  

Thus, internet speed differs country by country.

Internet price 

The price of getting online worldwide showcases vast irregularities. According to Cable.co.uk, the most affordable broadband packages do not necessarily translate to high internet usage. While Syria and Sudan offer the lowest prices, relatively small numbers of citizens are online. 

Number of Internet Service Providers 

The healthy promotion of competition is crucial for internet quality worldwide. If a single Internet Service Provider has a monopoly in the market, it can take advantage of its position. 

  • Since there are no other providers in an area or country, clients have no leverage for price or condition negotiation. 
  • The ISP monopoly tends to leave many people, especially in rural areas or in communities of color, underserved. 
  • Many communities might not even have options for internet access or pay extravagant prices for second-rate services. 
  • Having one or several ISPs controlling internet access also means easier execution of internet censorship or shutdowns. 
  • Multiple ISPs can exist in a country. However, smaller companies might not have the reach and infrastructure to compete. 
  • High infrastructure costs like installing cable systems make it impossible for new providers to emerge. 

Secure internet  

The National Cyber Security Index (NCSI) measures countries’ capability to defend against cyberattacks. It calculates a score from certain cybersecurity procedures that governments initiate: 

  • Cybersecurity policy development. 
  • Education and professional development. 
  • Contribution to global cybersecurity. 
  • Analysis of cyber threats. 
  • Protection of digital services.
  • Protection of essential services. 
  • E-identification and trust services. 
  • Protection of personal data. 
  • Response to and management of cyberattacks or incidents. 
  • Fight against cybercrime. 
  • Military cyber operations. 

The NCSI also judges the Digital Development Level. The NCSI score and DDL results showcase how cybersecurity improvements compare to countries’ general digital development. 

  • A positive difference between the NCSI score and DDL proves that the country's cybersecurity and digital innovations move at a similar pace.
  • A negative difference between the NCSI score and DDL shows that cybersecurity cannot keep up with digital innovation. 

Internet censorship and freedom by country  

The 2021 Freedom House report investigated the countries by their governments’ intervention into digital space. 70 countries received scores according to laws, content blocks, disruptions, and other internet controls. 

Higher scores mean that citizens enjoy more freedom online. Lower scores mean that the government gets actively involved in the digital space.

Top 10 countries with the best public Wi-Fi

Internet quality also refers to its availability outside your home or workplace. Some countries can boast about fast connectivity in various locations. For instance, Wi-Fi hotspots can be available in parks or other popular hangouts.

According to Ooma, many European countries lead the way with the quality and speed of public Wi-Fi. 

Most prominent internet threats 

Internet quality worldwide gets diminished due to the ever-growing number of threats. 

  • Ransomware is an infection designed to compromise devices and encrypt files within them. Victims cannot access their documents, and hackers demand payments for file decryption. 
  • Cryptojacking is a threat that exploits victims’ computer resources to mine cryptocurrencies. 
  • Threats against data include incidents when businesses report data breaches or leaks. Such data theft can compromise various clients’ details, like names or even banking information. 
  • Misinformation/disinformation refers to the twisted or outright fake information spread online. Personalization algorithms also make it difficult to break free from certain opinions and beliefs. 
  • Attacks to stop processes can include threats like DDoS aimed to disturb services and websites. 
  • Email-focused attacks refer to phishing attacks that trick users into visiting malicious websites or downloading tainted attachments. 
  • Supply chain threats include attempts to steal users’ data by compromising their providers. 

most prominent internet threats

Improving internet quality 

Overall, the internet quality users enjoy highly depends on their home countries. In some regions, relatively affordable plans bring stable and fast connections. However, other countries present seemingly outrageous prices for fairly low-quality services. 

On a personal level, you can consider several changes you can make to improve the quality of your internet connection. 

  1. If possible, change ISP when you are no longer satisfied with the price or service supplied. 
  2. Run internet speed tests to evaluate how your connection changes. For instance, you might notice that your ISP throttles traffic
  3. Know your rights to realize when you can make demands on your internet provider. Additionally, some countries even offer compensation for interrupted internet connections. 
  4. Get a VPN to protect against data interception and tracking. It hides your IP address, letting you browse as if you were in another location. Such changes help against unwarranted content blocks as well.
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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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internetonline securityISPcensorshipinternet freedom

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