Painfully slow upload speeds on broadband internet connections were undermining the competitiveness of Australian businesses, said an alliance of local government, regional councils and regional development associations.
“Australia has the worst average upload speed of any developed country,” said Tony Chadwick, small business and cloud adviser for the Broadband Today Alliance. “The internet used to be just for looking at websites and the occasional download. That’s changed now. It’s a platform to collaborate and share so it’s becoming a bigger problem for businesses who have ADSL 1 or 2,” Chadwick said.
While metro-based businesses had access to fast-upload cable services that ran as high as 21Mbps (eg. in Perth suburb Subiaco), the average broadband internet upload speed in Australia was 3.1 megabit per second (Mbps), less than half the global average, according to the Ookla Net Index. Australia’s average ranking placed it near countries like India at 3.08 Mbps and Fiji at 3.2 Mbps.
But the Australian average of 3.2Mbps was skewed by the inclusion of cable and fibre connections. Most SMBs outside of city centres only had access to ADSL connections which were limited to 0.8Mbps upload, Chadwick said.
“Australian SMBs are now disadvantaged and will not be able to compete in digital global economy unless something happens quickly. We’re falling behind. It’s fine to move to the cloud but what’s the point if you can’t connect and operate in an efficient manner?” Chadwick said.
Video conferencing, home security monitoring, online gaming and cloud-based file storage were examples that depended on fast upstream connections. Uploading content onto the internet was becoming just as important to businesses and consumers as downloading email, music and movies.
Canberra and Melbourne had the highest upload average within Australia at 5.72 Mbps and 4 Mbps respectively, higher than the overall nation’s mean. Sydney, Adelaide, Perth followed with Brisbane uploading content at 2.52 Mbps.
The 108-country index compared and ranked consumer upload speeds around the globe. The index measured a rolling average speed over the past 30 days. Australia fell behind number one ranked Hong Kong at 64.53 Mbps, New Zealand at 8.2 Mbps, US at 7.31 Mbps and the UK at 6.22 Mbps.
Developing nations such as Latvia (29.82 Mbps), Vietnam (11.80 Mbps) and China (8.83 Mbps) all had faster uploading capabilities. Data was extracted from 108 countries and Australia ranked 103rd for uploading speed and 53rd in downloading speed (average 14.14 Mbps).
The BTA’s mission was to share information among local government and development bodies to assist Australian businesses transition to a digital economy.