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Cheap Data But Woeful Speeds: The Two Sides of India’s Internet Story

Cheap Data But Woeful Speeds: The Two Sides of India’s Internet Story

The global average of mobile internet downloads is 28.02 Mbps

India ranks 131st in terms of mobile internet speed on a global level

In terms of fixed broadband, India ranks 70th

At the time when the Indian government has been working to digitise various services and the internet industry is picking up the pace to reach more audience, India’s cheap internet plans haven’t helped its global stance much.

According to August analysis of global internet speed by Ookla, internet testing, data and analysis company, the global average of mobile internet downloads is 28.02 Mbps and for fixed broadband it is 66.53 Mbps for downloads.

India has been ranked 131st and 70th, with 10.65 Mbps speed of downloads for mobile internet and 31.59 Mbps for fixed broadband internet downloads respectively.

For mobile internet speed, South Korea topped the list with 111 Mbps followed by Australia, Qatar, Norway and UAE with 66.45 Mbps, 65.62 Mbps, 65.35 Mbps and 64.11 Mbps respectively.

In terms of fixed broadband, Singapore led the list with a speed of 193.90 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Romania and Taiwan with 161.17 Mbps, 160 Mbps, 131.22 Mbps and 129.43 Mbps respectively.

Ookla’s 2019 Global speed index report further noted that Indian internet speeds lag behind the world despite a 16.3% YOY increase in mobile and a 28.5% increase in fixed broadband.

Interestingly, according to Ookla’s World’s Internet In 2018 report, fixed broadband internet services and mobile data services in India saw some improvement in 2018 when compared with 2017, but there may still be miles to go for the country before it ranks among the best in the world.

The Ookla report emphasised that global internet speeds are improving on average and 5G and gigabit are compounding those advances where available. “However, not all countries are benefitting equally. We’ll be interested to see how 5G continues to push mobile speeds in the next year and also whether 5G Wi-Fi becomes a game-changer for fixed broadband,” the report added.

In India, the government’s continuous impetus for internet penetration through the Digital India programme, private sector initiatives such as Google Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations, Vodafone’s Super Wi-fi coupled with the entry of Reliance Jio 4G services have drastically brought down the cost of internet subscription. This has been instrumental to the growth of internet users in India.

However, when it comes to consumption of internet, speed continues to be a major challenge. As the country increasingly talks about internet use and reliance for the growth, how long does speed index sees a downfall remains to be seen.

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