International broadbandness

Because I’m curious about these things, I tend to make a cursory study of broadband connectivity wherever I travel (after all, in my professional life, I helped promote a global Broadband Quality Study three times…). All speed ratings are as determined by the app on my iPhone.

– In the UK, we get an average of 3 mbp/s down and 0.8 mbp/s up. Mediocre, but serviceable. I’m considering BT Infinity when my contract is up in September – anyone have any insight into whether that might be a terrible idea? This is a suburban reading.

– In Malaysia, which for years has had a fairly consistently terrible broadband service, my parents have recently acquired a fibre optic cable service – resulting in synchronous 10mbp/s internet access for them. It’s amazing, although not massively cheap – at over 40 quid a month, in local currency. This is also a suburban reading.

– In Denmark, the speed as tested was more like 2 mbp/s down and 1 mbp/s up. Which is low, until you consider that somehow they manage to stream HD IPTV over the same line, at the same time, with nary a glitch or artefact. They have some clever traffic management stuff going on to make that happen, although aspects of the connection confounded sense: the router periodically stopped routing to random websites (including and the original router supplied didn’t have wifi or switch features, so was tediously difficult to share. Thank goodness for the wifi upgrade Onkel and Moster got! This is a remote rural reading.

I didn’t check Finland – but that was a suburban reading which has been the cause for a little complaint.

No grand conclusions to draw from this except to point out that the fibre experience was almost magical next to the increasing creakiness of DSL broadband, which gets proportionately worse the further you are from a city. My hesitation around BT Infinity stems as much from concerns about how effectively the copper and in-house wiring will carry an increased broadband quality, how crappy the BT provided VDSL modem/router is likely to be… as well as the cost, which is double what I’m currently paying with O2.

I’ll continue to fight a broadband crusade – we need Next Generation Access in the UK sooner rather than later – and look forward to seeing what the likes of BT and Virgin Media do about it. I can’t believe that the Malaysians have managed to provide such a good quality of service, but it’s early days for the product there so imagine TMNet will soon eat its own tail in contention ratios.

Any other International broadband experiences to share?