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MTN Sudan explains high-speed broadband

March 28, 2012  »  BroadbandNo Comment

How fast is high-speed broadband? These days, fixed broadband officially (per OECD) equal to or faster than 256 kbit/s.

MTN Sudan provides an excellent definition:

High speed or ‘broadband’ internet means that the connection you get is very fast compared to regular dial-up modems. There is no definition where ‘High speed’ begins or ends, but it is referring to the user’s experience. E.g. everything from 256 kbps and above can be considered as ‘high-speed’. Most important is that the user experiences as a convenient speed for browsing the internet, sending and receiving emails.”

Of course nothing is said about streaming video content. In Egypt and Tunisia, the majority of fixed broadband subscriptions provide speeds between 256 kbit/s and 2 Mbit/s, according to ITU research. Even if we are to trust Ookla’s Net Index for average broadband speeds in Africa, only Ghana (6 Mbps), Kenya (5 Mbps), Angola (4.5 Mbps), Libya (4 Mbps) would meet the USA’s standard for basic broadband.

Of course, the trend is to raise the threshold of the broadband definition as the marketplace rolls out faster services. In Africa, that speed is almost always 256 kbps even though globally the standard is generally in the 2-4 Mbps range.

Mobile broadband is a whole other problem. Current 3G (HSDPA) deployments support down-link speeds of 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 14.0 Megabit/s. Further speed increases are available with HSPA+, which provides speeds of up to 42 Mbit/s downlink. As such, 3G service can always be advertised as high-speed broadband, even though actual speeds are often no better than dial-up.