as someone whose job is location-independent-as-long-as-there-is-good-internet, i have several overarching limitations on my travels. one is time zone — i prefer time zones like Central European (UTC+1) because i can explore during the day and work in the afternoon until i go to bed (say, 3 PM to midnight) since that coincides with east coast USA business hours. this can or can’t be malleable depending on projects, so i’ve been able to work non-USA-business hours when i was in Vietnam earlier this year, but i had to pull all-nighters last month when i was in Singapore because i needed to be available to coworkers.
what i cannot compromise on, however, is a reliable and decently fast internet connection. between work files i need access to and VOIP for calling in to the office and conference calls, for the most part, i can’t go where there’s poor connectivity — hence quickly visiting Myanmar over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
by now i think we’re all pretty familiar with speedtest.net as the go-to site for determining internet connection speeds, and as it turns out they have a data site, netindex.com, which aggregates all the speed tests that have been done and breaks them down into different data sets you can dive into on the website.
the data is also shared via Google Public Data Explorer, through which you can easily generate comparative charts like the one above.
alas, i’ve long wanted to go to Ethiopia but have been afraid of not being able to connect at sufficient speeds for work, and my fear has been confirmed with the Net Index data. similarly, i had higher expectations for India (not shown in the graph above, but roughly the same as Maldives), although i wonder if connectivity is decent in major cities but the average is brought down by rural areas? South Africa is only slightly better than India but i do recall speeds being fairly decent (not great) at least in Johannesburg a couple of years ago.
i can’t vouch for how accurate the data is, but they claim it is based on over 1.5 billion records and they “aim to be the definitive source for up-to-date broadband statistics,” so perhaps this is as good as it gets?
well, in any case, this is a great resource. i’m most definitely looking forward to my trip to Lithuania next year to see how fast that internet is!
oh and yes, that Japan figure is likely correct. i speedtested my internet connection at the hotel i stayed at in Hakone a couple years ago: