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Nation's Internet speed stacks up poorly against global counterparts

(Global Times)

15:25, September 23, 2011

Chinese Internet users are suffering connection speeds roughly half as fast as the global average, according to a global network speed study released by US-based Pando Networks on Thursday.

The study said Chinese speeds are about 245 kilobytes per second (KBps), while the rest of the world averages around 590 KBps. The study was based on 27 million downloads by 20 million around the globe from January through June 2011, the study lays out worldwide web data accessibility.

South Korea leads the list with an average speed of 2,202 KBps, followed by small eastern European nations Romania (1,909 KBps) and Bulgaria (1,611 KBps).

The US came in at 26 with 606 KBps, slightly ahead of the world average speed. Algiers, in the North African country Algeria, is at the other end of the list with an average speed of 56 KBps.

China's network infrastructure has lagged behind for some time, and its expensive charges from Internet Service Providers (ISP) also restrain user demand, said Hu Yanping, director of the Data Center at the China Internet (DCCI).

The average payment from Chinese broadband subscribers was 83.3 yuan per month in 2008, which is equivalent to $6.7 per MBps, according to a 2010 report from the State Information Center. The cost is 18 times higher than South Korea, which is $0.37 per KBps. Considering South Korea's average national income was 6.9 times higher than China in 2008, broadband costs in China are 124 times higher than that of South Korea, according to the report.

However, Zhu Jun, a deputy director of the telecom development department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, claimed in August that more than 80 percent of fixed broadband Internet subscribers enjoy a speed above 2,048 KBps.

"Due to marketing and pricing strategy, some ISP's broadband speeds are actually half or only one third of the advertised speed. Many allegedly high-speed broadband connections are much slower," Hu said. State-owned enterprises monopolize the market, so such a phenomenon likely won't be changed soon, according to Hu.

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