Japan leads in broadband quality

Japan leads in providing quality broadband, according to a survey conducted by Oxford University's Said Business School.

An Associated Press report quoted the survey which said Sweden was next, followed by the Netherlands, Latvia and South Korea, with the US ranked 16th and Britain 24th out of 42 countries covered.

India was last place.

The study was geared toward finding what broadband consumers experience 'in the wild' as opposed to what companies advertise. It used data from 8 million tests done in May by Speedtest.net, the largest of many free connection-testing services on the web, the Associated Press report said.

After debating with a group of experts about how consumers use the net today and how they would define 'quality,' the authors gave a heavy weighting toward download speed, but also considered upload speeds and 'latency,' a rough measure of response time.

'It's a first stab at coming up with country broadband quality scores,' said professor Alastair Nicholson, who oversaw the students carrying out the study. He was presenting the findings at the start of the International Broadcasting Conference.

'You could have questions like, was 8 million samples enough, were the searches for expert advice appropriate, were they biased‾ All scoring or indexing is subject to bias. But it's a first attempt at objectivity.'

He said experts believe uploading speeds will become more important in the future as users will send more video data, and Japan is well-placed to take advantage of that trend.

It was not surprising that Japan had a high score, given the country's early investment in fiber optics, but Japan does not have as large a percentage of broadband users as some countries _ in essence emphasizing quality over quantity. Sweden and Latvia have similar profiles.

The Netherlands and especially South Korea are stronger on percentage of broadband users.

When combining quality and quantity, the Netherlands would have the best balance, along with the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, South Korea and Japan.