A global survey has revealed that 62 out of 66 countries have improved their speed of broadband connections since last year.
South Korea tops the Broadband Quality Study 2009, which was conducted by a team of MBA students from Oxford's Saïd Business School and economists from the University of Oviedo.
South Korea rose just above 2008's broadband quality leader Japan with a 72 per cent improvement over the past year. In South Korea, 97 per cent of households are now able to receive broadband services and receive the best quality of broadband services.
Other global broadband leaders in descending order are Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Singapore, Luxembourg, Denmark and Norway. The UK lags behind at 25th in the broadband quality table.
The research team found that broadband quality is linked to a nation's advancement as a knowledge economy and countries with broadband on their national agenda had the highest broadband quality.
Sweden has the highest quality broadband in Europe, rapidly catching up with Japan and South Korea. It is also closing a broadband quality gap in its own country with residents outside the most populated cities enjoying better quality than those in the cities, which bucks the trend elsewhere.
The cities with the highest broadband quality were in Japan – with Yokohama in first place and Nagoya, Sapporo, and Osaka in the top 10. Other top cities included Kaunas in Lithuania, Seoul in South Korea, Malmo in Sweden, Wuhan in China, Uppsala in Sweden, and Sofia in Bulgaria.
Alastair Nicholson, associate fellow at the Saïd Business School, said: ‘The UK has a broadband quality above the threshold required to deliver a consistent quality of experience for the most common web applications today, such as social networking, streaming low-definition video, web communications and file sharing, but as the new generation of technology comes in we need to question whether we should upgrade our networks to get ahead of the game and reap economic benefits in the future.'
To draw its conclusions, the team used more than 24 million records from actual broadband speed tests conducted by users around the world in May 2008 and from May to July 2009 through www.speedtest.net.