Internet Performance Around The World Amid COVID-19

Image of networks on earth.

Hundreds of countries have now reported cases of the novel coronavirus as it sweeps its way through nearly every corner of the planet, impacting the daily lives of millions.

Throughout this period, staying connected while staying home has become a crucial aspect of quarantined life. We have been tracking both download and upload speeds in cities and towns across the U.S., many of which have been experiencing slightly slower speeds relative to earlier months of the year. Major metro areas in Washington, New York, California, and other states have been affected. Overall, however, networks have held up to the increasing demand, and providers are adapting proactively to changes in usage patterns in major metros like Los Angeles, Dallas, and Philadelphia

This report examines the state of internet networks across the world in an effort to better understand how they are faring comparatively during this unprecedented time. Here is what we’ve found.

Key Findings 

  • 72 of the 138 countries we are tracking experienced slower average download and upload speeds in April than in January and February of this year.
  • Only four countries experienced average download speed declines of greater than 40% – Libya, Hong Kong, Panama, and Malta. Five countries recorded the same for upload speeds – Ghana, Paraguay, Peru, Hong Kong, and Guadeloupe.
  • Of the top 10 countries in the world by population, the U.S. is the only that recorded no download speed degradation on average in the month of April. Many others, however, experienced only slight declines of less than 10% out of range.
  • All 10 countries with the most new cases of COVID-19 experienced some degree of download and upload speed degradation over the past two months. That said, China, which experienced the brunt of its cases earlier in the year, has begun to climb again, and Italy has leveled off in April. 

Average Internet Speeds Around The Globe 

The interactive charts below show average download and upload speed changes in countries across the globe for April of 2020 compared to January-February 2020.

45 countries (32.6% of the 138 we are currently tracking) have experience no drop in average upload speed performance throughout the month of April. Many more, however, experienced some level of decline, with five countries – Ghana, Paraguay, Peru, Hong Kong, and Guadeloupe – experiencing significant drops of more than 40% compared to earlier in 2020.

52 countries (37.68%) experienced no drop in average download speeds throughout the month of April relative to January and February. However, as with upload speeds, the majority of countries we are tracking have recorded some degree of performance decrease for download speeds. Four countries experienced declines of greater than 40% – Libya, Hong Kong, Panama, and Malta.

Internet Performance In Countries With Most Cases of COVID-19

The 10 countries below have recorded the most new cases of the novel coronavirus this year (as of 4/22). The graphs represent the average download and upload speeds in these countries throughout the months of January, February, March and April. Note the general trend of declining speeds going into the latter two months, as many countries began to see exponential growth rates in coronavirus cases (and as their citizens were increasingly confined to their homes as a result). 

You can use the country filter to directly compare any combination of countries and their associated download and upload speeds.

As you can see, most of these countries have thus far experienced only minor dips in both average upload and average download speeds over the past two months. Interestingly, China has begun to see increasing speeds, coinciding with a nation seeing a rapidly-declining number of new COVID-19 cases in April.

Note: Iran was not included in the visual above because of a lack of available speed test data at time of publish.

Countries Most Affected in April 

The interactive maps below detail countries that recorded some degree of download and upload speed decline over the month of April. You can hover over each country to view how much speeds have decreased throughout the month. You can also filter by the severity of degradation each country has experienced. 

About the Data 

We analyzed raw speed test data from M-Lab for 138 countries in order to create the visuals and statistics in this report. Data was taken from January to April 2020.

The M-Lab’s data we used includes all users running speed tests on various websites, and does not separate by device type or ISP.

COVID-19 Data comes from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE). The data was pulled on 5/1/2020 and is as of 4/30/2020.

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