A study looking at the quality of broadband across 66 countries worldwide has found that only nine countries are ready for future demand, with two-thirds meeting the criteria for today's requirements only. The study placed each country into one of four groups according to network speed and penetration.
The study, which was conducted for Cisco by Oxford University's Said Business School and the University of Oviedo's Department of Applied Economics, found that countries such as Korea, Latvia, Bulgaria and Denmark are better prepared for future Internet use than most of Europe and the United States.
Researchers looked at how fit countries were to cope with the demands of today's users by looking at a set of applications consumers are likely to use today, such as video streaming and photo sharing, as well as future applications, such as watching high-definition video.
The research was based on speed tests done via speedtest.net, which were combined with the broadband penetration for each of the countries studied. Cisco's communication manager, Joanne Hughes, believes this gives better results than other studies.
"Most studies are based just on broadband penetration or, if they look at speed they look at advertised speeds rather than real speeds," she said. "We wanted to look at the issue of broadband quality which is vital as new applications come along."
The average download speed globally was found to be 4.75Mbps, with an average upload speed of 1.3Mbps. The results of the study are as follows:
Countries "ready for tomorrow": Korea, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Netherlands, Romania and Denmark.
Countries "comfortable for today": Switzerland, Czech Republic, Norway, United States, Slovakia, Portugal, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Belgium, Slovenia, Taiwan, Austria and Hong Kong.
Countries "meeting needs for today": Iceland, Estonia, Greece, Singapore, Canada, UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand, Ukraine, Turkey, Ireland and Italy.
Countries "below needs for today": Malta, Luxembourg, Chile, China, Qatar, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Thailand, Tunisia, Mexico, Philippines, UAE, Malaysia, Pakistan, Colombia, Morocco, Vietnam, South Africa and Indonesia.