We all know the feeling of an incredibly slow internet connection. Sometimes the connection is so slow that you can’t even be sure if you really are connected to the internet at all. If you live in an area with access to a reliable broadband connection, consider yourself lucky.
According to the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the vast majority of people in undeveloped countries have no access to the internet at all. According to the Commission’s 2013 report, over 90% of people in the world’s least developed countries have no access to the internet.
In its very own State of the Internet Report, cloud storage industry leader Akamai compiled a list of countries in which many people would like to use the internet, but are forced to do so at excruciatingly slow speeds. Akamai used data from their own platforms to determine which countries had the greatest amount of “narrowband” connections, which they defined as slower than 256 kbps.
To get a sense of how slow that really is, consider that the average broadband speed in the US is around 10 Mbps, or about 40 times faster.
At a rate of 256 kbps, web pages take on average 20 seconds to load on desktops and about 13 seconds on mobile connections. A connection this slow makes downloading music or video an afternoon project and renders streaming nearly impossible. Let’s take a look at the top (or bottom) 10 countries with the highest percentage of super-slow narrowband connections.
- Malaysia. This Southeast Asian country has a population of over 30 million but about 16% of its internet users rely on a connection of 256 kbps or less.
- Kazakhstan. This former Soviet Republic in Central Asia with a population of 17 million also has about 16% of its internet users condemned to a narrowband connection.
- Indonesia. This archipelago nation of 256 million has one of the largest economies in Southeast Asia, but 19% of its citizens use a narrowband internet connection. This is partly due to the country’s mix of large urban centers like Jakarta and far-flung island villages.
- Syria. Nearly 20% of Syria’s internet users use a narrowband connection of 256 kbps or less. The country’s ongoing civil war and the subsequent destruction of much of its infrastructure won’t help, either.
- Bolivia. One-quarter of this South American nation’s 10 million people use a narrowband connection. But conditions are improving, as this number has gone down 22% since the last report.
- India. As more Western countries turn to India for offshore corporate centers, major Indian cities are becoming more and more connected. Still, 27% of the country’s internet users have a slow connection.
- Iran. Nearly one-third of Iran’s internet users have a narrowband internet connection.
- Nigeria. While there has been a 16% decrease since the last report, 31% of Nigeria’s internet users rely on a narrowband connection.
- Nepal. About 31% of the internet users in this Himalayan republic have a slow connection.
- Libya. No one on this list even comes close to Libya’s 52% of internet users who have internet speeds of 256 kbps or less.