Australia has fastest mobile broadband speeds in Asia-Pacific: report

Updated 2017-03-13 13:28:47 Xinhua

A report released on Monday has shown that Australia has the fastest mobile broadband speeds in the whole of the Asia-Pacific region.

The report conducted quarterly by American digital delivery group Akamai, said Australia has the fastest mobile internet speeds in the Asia-Pacific region, with an average connection speed clocked at 13.8Mbps (megabytes per second), during the final quarter of last year.

Australia beat out countries of a far smaller size, and with higher density, which meant that Japan had to settle for second place with speeds of 13.3Mbps, while the Republic of Korea came in third, averaging 12.7Mbps.

While some speculate that more should be done to divert Australians to wireless solutions, Dr Michael de Percy from the University of Canberra disagrees, and told Xinhua on Monday the market can determine the outcomes in high-density areas, leaving the government to focus on areas that struggle for connectivity.

“I don't think we should be diverting consumers anywhere, we should let markets work where they work, and let government intervene where they don't,” de Percy said.

“Where the government has not intervened, except in terms of providing infrastructure such as mobile towers in various black spots, we have one of the best systems in the world.”

The same report highlighted that Australia, while leading in mobile internet, has struggled with its wired services, and is currently in 51st place in the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to our land-based broadband speeds. To which, de Percy said not enough is being done, especially in rural areas, to ensure connectivity for all.

“Cases like the town of Gunning in NSW, where people have to drive to the top of the nearest hill to check their email, it makes life in the regions very difficult in terms of running businesses and staying in touch with friends and family elsewhere.,” de Percy said.

More emphasis on services, rather than recouping costs, de Percy stresses, is critical to stop the “stifling” of the industry, with the amount of public spending on infrastructure in Australia not reaping the rewards of countries who spend far less.

“The world-class mobile broadband network is proof that the market can work where industry is not stifled,” de Percy said.

“It is not very trendy, but letting markets work where they work, having government fund infrastructure where it does not, and having the true cost of providing for non-market areas reflected in government budgets is simple, straightforward, transparent, and certainly effective.”

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) disagreed, and said that the 24 percent increase in wired speeds over the past quarter, and a doubling in speed over the past three years, demonstrate that they are getting the job done.

“In just over three years, the number of active end users on the NBN network has gone from less than one percent of households to more than 15 percent connected,” the NBN said.

“In Akamai's first quarter report in 2013, the average speed delivered in Australia was 4.7Mbps, while today's report for the fourth quarter 2016 shows the average speed delivered of 10.1Mbps.”

The NBN is a high speed internet rollout across Australia, primarily utilizing a copper-based-fiber-to-the-node strategy, or FTTN.

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