Survey Says: Faster Broadband Doesn’t Equal Innovation

The list of the best-connected countries of the world is topped by South Korea, with average download speeds of 34.14 Mbps, according to, which today released the results of 1.5 billion worldwide Internet speed tests on its new site. The USA is ranked 26th with 10.16 Mbps, which places us somewhere between the Ukraine and Russia.

Global broadband speeds Nov 23, 2007 - May 24, 2010. Source:

I know what you’re thinking: U.S. broadband stinks, what else is new? That’s what I thought, but upon closer inspection of the results I realized that many of the countries we think of as innovative in the online video space don’t actually offer their residents all that much bandwidth. The U.S. is a good example. We have YouTube (s GOOG), Hulu and live streaming, despite having Net connections that are slower than that of most Eastern European countries.

The UK also offers plenty of online video success stories, the biggest one obviously being the hugely successful BBC iPlayer. Yet, Brits only download with 7.70 Mbps, on average. That’s about the same as the average worldwide download speed, as measured across 152 countries.

And finally, there’s China. The country is 76th on the list with 2.94 Mbps down and 1.28 Mbps up, but a huge force when it comes to P2P video — which is ironic, considering that P2P depends on upload bandwidth. Maybe innovation in online video isn’t the result of abundant resources so much as it’s about making good use of what you have.

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