Frankly, it's an embarrassment: The latest Akamai State of the Internet Report (just released, but for Q4, 2012) shows Australia with average broadband speeds of just 4.2Mbps. Out of all 34 OECD countries, only New Zealand, Italy, Greece, Chile, Mexico, and Turkey fall beneath us.
Worse still, we've seen average speeds slide over the last couple of quarters, with a 23 percent year-on-year drop. Meanwhile, most of our stable mates at the bottom of the table have at least made some headway.
It's this lack of progress that, sadly, makes Australia stand out. Countries like Spain and Russia have leap frogged us, with annual growth of 24 percent and 34 percent, respectively. The danger is, of course, that with the National Broadband Network (NBN) still years away — in whatever form it will take — we'll stay behind the pack for some time to come.
In fact, it's our lack of fast broadband that makes the difference. We keep the same company at the bottom of the list when it comes to OECD countries, with the lowest proportion of connections greater than 10Mbps. Luxembourg pushes us one spot up the ladder, but we're still 28th out of 34.
It seems that most of the rest of the world is making good headway in getting more people connected to faster broadband. And we're not. The UK has seen a 129 percent annual increase in the proportion of high broadband (greater than 10Mbps) connections; in the US, they're up 90 percent. In Australia, penetration has fallen by 56 percent.
Yet, we are as keen as anyone to use the internet. The report recorded 8,631,783 IP addresses for Australia — 0.4 per person. That's more than the UK or the US, and only a little behind South Korea, which, with an average speed of 14Mbps and 49 percent of connections over 10Mbps, clearly leads the OECD.
Tucked away in its own corner of the world, Australia can only dream.