I spent much of this week in meetings with colleagues from Asia and Europe. During breaks and social time, I ran an informal poll of their residential Internet Access arrangements. Everyone I polled was either a sales manager or a sales engineer for NMS Communications and thus in the business of selling voice and video development platforms to people in the telecom industry, i.e. this is a fairly high tech bunch.
Why the survey?
There's plenty of country-by-country data on broadband Internet access, for example from the OECD, but speeds and prices vary and there is little information on exactly how many people have which speed. I did find this table in the OECD list,
but it provides the average of advertised broadband services in each country without regard to how many people use each service. On this basis, a service like HKBN's 1 Gbps Home Service would distort already excellent numbers (for Hong Kong, if Hong Kong were an OECD country). So what do real people actually sign up for and what does it cost them?
The results of my informal poll
Complete data is in a file attached at the bottom of this post.
Japan leads with 100 Mbps symmetric service routinely available for ~US$23 per month. I've run into this before with others in our Tokyo office going as far back as 2004. What was new (to me) in this survey was 100 Mbps service in a detached house, not just in an urban apartment building. As a side note, while it's a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection, typical speeds realized were claimed to be more like 65 Mbps. I don't know how much of this is due to Ethernet overhead, measurement limitations, TCP parameters? or congestion.
Korea came in second as my colleague from Korea happens to have 50 Mbps VDSL service. This costs him ~$20 per month.
Regardless of where people were, most people knew the download speed but were unsure of their upload speed.
Hong Kong was interesting. 100 Mbps service is routinely available, but most of my colleagues use ADSL service at speeds between 6 Mbps and 10 Mbps and monthly costs of US$23 to US$26. One of our folks in Hong Kong is being driven, by his children, to upgrade to 100 Mbps symmetric, but it's quite a bit more expensive than Japan at 600 HK$ or about US$77 per month.
Next best were 20 Mbps services in the US and France. Mine is Verizon FiOS 20/5 Mbps in the Boston suburbs for ~$55 per month. The French connection was 20/1 Mbps ADSL from Orange at a detached house fairly far out of Paris.
A lot of people have DSL at various speeds from a low of 512Kbps in both a detached house in Delhi, India and an apartment in Paris, to 1 Mbps in Beijing, China to 2 Mbps near Tel Aviv, Israel to 4 & 8 Mbps near London. The full detail is in this file: