Broadband and mobile phones

Looking to the future, the convergence of broadband networks and mobile phones is coming.  The advent of wimax and increasingly powerful mobile broadband makes the prospect of voice calls via data networks more likely.

The 2010 Broadband Customer Satisfaction Report highlighted some interesting thoughts about the UK’s internet access options. The study, which surveyed over seven-thousand broadband users from across the UK, found that broadband bills had reduced by just over four percent from last year, while average connection speeds had increased by approximately 33 percent.

It also looked at the UK’s broadband satisfaction rates, highlighting the difference in satisfaction for some of the UK’s biggest home and mobile broadband companies. O2 topped the list with a 92% satisfaction rate, while well-known broadband provider Orange found itself in last place, boasting a mere 44% customer satisfaction level.

But despite offering one of the most competitively priced and acclaimed services in the UK, O2′s service is by no means the best on offer anywhere. We’ve looked at global broadband statistics and aimed to find the world’s best broadband connections. Where, in Asia, Europe, or the Americas, is the world’s best broadband connection found?

A 2008 study from Cisco Systems found that almost all of the world’s fastest broadband connections were in East Asia. Japan boasts the world’s most developed and extensive home broadband network, with almost all of the nation’s home able to access high-speed internet connections without regular downtime.

South Korea also appeared high on the list, claiming the world’s fastest broadband network system and an incredible broadband penetration rate. While still offering the world’s fastest connection speeds, South Korea lost out to Japan overall due to lower customer satisfaction rates and less consistent all-round internet speeds.

It’s worth noting that East Asia’s broadband advantage isn’t just due to early investment and rapid development, but a vastly more urbanised population than its European competitors. Seoul and Tokyo, two of the world’s largest city areas, have the fastest and most reliable broadband networks in Asia.

Sweden has been named Europe’s best broadband location, offering subscribers the greatest mix of connection speeds and always-on reliability. The BBC recently reported that the average connection speed in Sweden is 7.4Mbps, almost twice that of the United Kingdom and over five times the mean connection speed in Poland.

Germany and France offer some of Europe’s most competitively priced and reliable broadband services, though both lose out to their Nordic neighbours when it comes to sheer speed. The average connection speed in Germany is 4.8Mbps, while urban French connections tend to hover between four and five megabits per second.

The United States remains the world’s most connected nation, boasting an impressive sixty-six million connections and one of the world’s most developed cable networks. The vast majority of American internet subscribers rely on cable connections for their service, with broadband access relatively limited and DSL usage slowly falling out of favour.

With home broadband penetration levelling off and mobile broadband becoming increasingly popular, we could soon see a change in the world’s best broadband nations. A number of UK-based telecommunications companies are offering competitively priced mobile broadband, giving many mobile subscribers little reason to invest in a dedicated home connection.

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