Updates to this story
Speedtest.net is publishing speed test results of internet connections from around the world starting today.
Top of the list for download speeds is South Korea at 33.91Mb/s. South Korea also holds the top spot for upload speeds 17.95Mb/s. This is not unexpected considering its place in the technology world. North Korea did not feature in the 178 country list at all, which is saying something.
A surprise second place on both fronts is Latvia, with 24.07Mb/s download speed and 12.68Mb/s upload speed. The finds make more sense when we realise just how small Latvia is, with a population of just over two million, making internet coverage an easier feat to achieve. It also most likely spent a lot on infrastructure during the boom years and the country has good coverage from Scandinavian telecommunications operators TeliaSonera, Telenor and Tele2.
Another surprise for third place is the Republic of Moldova with 21.32Mb/s download speed. Moldova is a bit like Latvia in terms of country side and population, so the same things apply there. The Republic of Moldova slumped to number 11 for uploads, however, at 7.11Mb/s.
A non-surprising top player is Japan at fourth place for downloads and third place for uploads. Download speed was 20.43Mb/s and upload speed was 11.10Mb/s. Considering how tech heavy Japan is we would have expected it to have been even higher on the list, perhaps even grappling for first place with South Korea.
Most of the next 30 odd countries on the list were European, but the United Kingdom was all the way down at 35 for download speeds at 7.87Mb/s and an abyssmal 62 for uploads at 1.0Mb/s. Considering the United Kingdom has a population of around 60 million the results are probably not that surprising since the population is spread out over a reasonably big area. A lot of countryside areas are simply not cost-effective places to roll out fibre optic lines. That said, the little village of Lyddington managed to get 40Mb/s broadband for 200 homes by doing it themselves.
The UK's neighbour, Ireland, had an even worse download slot at 42 at 6.09Mb/s, but a slightly better upload position of 60 at 1.07Mb/s. For a population of just over four million, however, that's a pretty woeful result, but then Ireland has been lagging behind in rolling out broadband, even if it is one of Europe's big technology hubs.
Zambia got the last letter in the list at 178 with a dire 0.26Mb/s download speed and 0.03Mb/s upload speed.
Speedtest also provides the top speeds by continent, with Europe top of the list with an average of 8.33Mb/s download speed. North America is second with 7.35Mb/s, and Asia is in third place with 5.72Mb/s. Australasia followed closely with 5. 61Mb/s. South America and Africa got the last two positions with 2.43Mb/s and 1.51Mb/s respectively.
These results are probably not 100 percent accurate, given that they will depend greatly on how many people actually use Speedtest to test their internet speeds. That said, over twenty million tests are taken a month, so there's certainly a lot of data to go on.
The top 50 can be seen below. The full list can be found here.