Speedtest Global Index: India's Internet is Getting Faster

Doug Suttles, Co-Founder & General Manager, OoklaBoth mobile and fixed broadband internet speed in India are getting faster - according to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, a monthly ranking of countries by internet speed. That’s good news for all Indian consumers no matter which operator or plan they use to access the internet.

At the start of 2017, the average mobile download speed in India was 7.65 Mbps. Heading into the end of the year, average mobile download speed is 8.83 Mbps as of October. That’s a 15 percent increase. While mobile speeds increased modestly, fixed broadband speeds increased dramatically. Average fixed broadband download speed in January was 12.12 Mbps. As of October, it’s at 18.09 Mbps, a 49 percent jump. These October numbers place India as the 107th ranked country for mobile internet and 76th for fixed broadband on the Speedtest Global Index.

The Case for Growth
Forward momentum at any pace is a good indicator, but India still has a long way to go to catch up with countries that have top speeds around the world. Norway currently ranks first in the world for mobile internet with an average download speed of 59.40 Mbps. Singapore takes the top spot for fixed broadband with a 148.62 Mbps average download.

Faster internet speeds open a realm of possibilities for continued economic and social advancement. With a fast internet connection, it becomes vastly easier for people to use the internet in increasingly complex and dynamic ways. For instance, with a slow connection streaming high-quality video is nearly impossible. However, a fast connection makes accessing and watching large videos far simpler. When it is easier to do something, people tend to do it more. This is certainly true when it comes to consumption of content on the internet and improved internet performance allows people to increase their productivity and quality of life.

The internet is the vehicle that most of us use to connect with the world every day. As
internet speeds improve in India and consumers take advantage of the opportunities these speeds present, it only stands to reason that increased demand will lead to innovation across mediums that also open up new ways to create and connect with each other.

Driving Growth
At Ookla, we analyze the performance of the internet in every country based on consumer initiated tests taken by real people using Speedtest. Over 17 billion tests have been taken with Speedtest to date. From our observations, there are a handful of factors that consistently tend to drive increases in internet speeds across markets.

First and foremost is sufficient infrastructure. The strength and quality of networks is the baseline foundation required for faster speeds. Especially as technology advances, it is imperative that networks are built to adequately support emerging technologies. For instance, a network built to accommodate 3G speeds will struggle to fulfill the modern demands of mobile consumers. Equally important is planning infrastructure that can provide service to the number of people accessing a given network.

With a fast internet connection, it becomes vastly easier for people to use the internet in increasingly complex and dynamic ways

Another key element in growth is competition. When operators compete to provide the fastest speeds and the best plans for consumers, they incentivize each other to offer progressively better options. Think of it this way - if there was only one operator in a country, what would encourage that operator to continue investing and improving in their network? The answer is that with a cornered market, the motivators are slim to none. The telecom industry and consumers should both celebrate the benefits that come from market competition with the chief benefit among them being faster internet speeds.

A third factor in improving speeds is the consideration of new technologies that may boost network performance. One such emerging technology is carrier aggregation, which is when mobile networks serve multiple LTE operators. Carrier aggregation can increase the capacity of networks, especially during peak times. New technologies do come with the caveat that it is usually only the latest devices that can access them, meaning consumers have to upgrade their devices to experience benefit.

Of course, there are numerous factors that contribute to the final internet speed a consumer receives. However, these three areas are among the most impactful and should be seriously contemplated by anyone seeking to advance internet speed and performance in India.

Looking Forward
2018 is just around the corner and with that comes a renewed chance to focus on the development of Indian internet. Home to one-sixth of the world’s population, India is a dynamic market with opportunities for both national and regional innovations. Of particular note is the rise of 4G in the country and the continued rollout of new companies and plans that are making 4G accessible to consumers.