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Do not use these internet statistics if you are an Australian politician

Australia is doing better than ever/about the same/much worse -- delete as appropriate to fit your world view -- according to the latest Akamai State of the Internet Connectivity report.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The latest edition of the Rorschach test known as the Akamai State of the Internet Connectivity report has been released for the third quarter of 2016, and Australia is doing whatever you think it is doing.

On the hopefully inarguable set of statistics put out by Akamai, Australia has swept the fastest average mobile broadband connection category in APAC -- Australia hit 12.8Mbps, ahead of South Korea on 11.2Mbps, Singapore with 8.5Mbps, New Zealand at 10.8Mbps, and Japan with 11.6Mbps. The Philippines topped the Asia-Pacific on 13.9Mbps but did not meet the minimum 25,000 unique IPv4 addresses threshold.

Globally, the UK maintained top billing in mobile with 23.7Mbps, with many European nations surpassing 10Mbps, while Canada was the fastest in the Americas with a mere 8.9Mbps. The United States clocked in at 7.5Mbps as an average mobile broadband speed.

Akamai used to provide a peak mobile speed as well, but has decided to drop it from its report because of the use of proxies by carriers.

"If a country's major mobile carriers make heavy use of such proxies, peak connection speeds recorded for that country are likely to be more representative of the speeds achieved between Akamai and the proxies (residing in data centers) rather than speeds achieved between Akamai and the mobile devices themselves," the report said.

"Note that average connection speed measurements may also be influenced by the use of proxies within mobile networks, but the effect is expected to be less pronounced."

Where the report get contestable is in the case of fixed broadband.

The Asia-Pacific once again ruled the roost in IPv4 average connection speed, with South Korea having 26.3Mbps, Hong Kong coming in second on 20.1Mbps, followed by Norway at 20Mbps, Sweden on 19.7Mbps, Switzerland with 18.4Mbps, Singapore recording 18.2Mbps, and Japan having 18Mbps.

Globally, the average broadband speed is 6.3Mbps, up 21 percent compared to Q3 2015.

According to Akamai, Australia now sits 50th in the world in IPv4 average broadband speeds at 9.6Mbps, up 13 percent quarter on quarter, and 23 percent on last year's report.

If you were a member of the Coalition government, you would ignore the ranking drop of 4 places over the past 12 months, and crow about how it proves your NBN strategy is bringing faster connections to Australians, and that this quarter, Australia is back in the top 50 rankings again.

On the opposition side, you would say the report is a damning indictment and point out that South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Philippines, and India all had larger increases over the past twelve months.

And to top it all, both sides would claim the drag on the government's cash bottom line by funding equity in NBN was the fault of the other side.

In absolute terms, the average Australian IPv4 speed has increased from 7.8Mbps to 9.6Mbps on Akamai services in the past 12 months. This is still lower than any speed available on any technology used in the National Broadband Network -- which is increasingly becoming stuck at 25Mbps -- so it's not time to blame Australia's ranking on the multi-technology mix, yet.

There will be plenty of time to blame each other for the state of the NBN in the years to come, but while the nation is still a majority ADSL nation, the arguments are moot -- at least concerning this particular report.

If you'd like to read whatever you want into Akamai's numbers for the Asia-Pacific over the past year, consult the graph below.

(Image: Chris Duckett/ZDNet)
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