AUSTRALIA has clawed its way up the world broadband speed rankings, with a new report showing the country now ranks 56th in the world for internet download speeds.
But the news, coming on the eve of the federal election, is far from impressive, with networking firm Akamai Technologies noting that Australia’s speed boost was “the smallest gain” in Asia Pacific, and the country’s ranking had plummeted from 30th place just three years ago.
The Akamai State of the internet report for the first three months of the year, released overnight, showed Australia still ranked below Asia Pacific countries including New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand for internet speeds, though the country’s average peak download speed reached 43 megabits per second, up 6.8 per cent compared to last year.
But region leader Singapore’s peak speeds skyrocketed 49 per cent to reach 146mbps — more than three times Australia’s top speed.
Hong Kong, Indonesia and South Korea all offered more than double the average peak download speeds in Australia.
Australia’s average download speed also improved marginally to 8.8 megabits per second, putting it in 48th position worldwide.
To put that speed in perspective, 8.8mbps is enough to watch YouTube videos but less than half the speed needed to stream 4K TV shows from Netflix.
The report arrives the day before Australia’s federal election in which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rarely mentioned the multibillion-dollar National Broadband Network, but the Labor Party has committed to installing faster fibre connections to about two million homes.
Homes and businesses with copper connections now, or under contract to receive them, would miss out on the upgrade, however.
Neither party has committed to replacing pay-TV cable networks with fibre optic technology.
Internet Australia chief executive Laurie Patton called for a bipartisan approach to the NBN and a review of the current system after the election, regardless of which party won.
Mr Patton said upgrading the current slower speed NBN was important if Australia was to catch up to other countries in internet speed.
“This slide relative to our peers will continue even as the NBN is being built so long as we rely on the current technology mix,” he said.
“New Zealand outperforms us and Singapore, arguably our biggest regional competitor, already delivers broadband speeds faster than ours.”