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Global Survey Names Bulgaria, Romania among Countries with Future-ready Broadband Infrastructure

Oct 5, 2009, 1:42:39 PMArticle by Georgi Georgiev
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October 5 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria and Romania are among the nine countries worldwide that have the broadband quality required for future web applications, such as high definition Internet TV viewing and high-quality video communications that will become mainstream in the next three to five years, according to a new global study of 66 countries.

Global Survey Names Bulgaria, Romania among Countries with Future-ready Broadband Infrastructure

The study, released last week, was conducted by a team of MBA students from the Saпd Business School at the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo’s Department of Applied Economics, and was sponsored by Cisco.

The other future-ready countries identified in the survey are South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands and Denmark. In 2008, only Japan exceeded this threshold.

South Korea - where broadband penetration is at 97% of households, rose just above last year's broadband quality leader Japan with a 72% improvement in its broadband quality score (BQS) to 66. Japan drops one spot with a BQS of 64. South Korea's improvement has been driven by continuous efforts by the government to strengthen the country’s position as one of the world’s ICT leaders, the authors said.

Sweden has the highest quality broadband in Europe. It is rapidly catching up with Japan and South Korea as its BQS improves 38% from 2008 to 57 in 2009.

Sweden is the most successful country in closing the broadband quality gap with residents outside the most populated cities enjoying better quality than those in the cities. Lithuania, Bulgaria and Latvia come just behind Sweden in quality boosted by recent city-based fibre rollouts and cable improvements but low broadband penetration means these countries have yet to break into the broadband leaders’ category, the survey said.

Bulgaria was assigned a BQS of 49 while Romania earned a score of 44.89 in the 2009 edition of the survey.

The only other country from southeast Europe included in the survey is Slovenia. It was ranked among counties with broadband quality that allows users to comfortably enjoy today's applications.

The Bulgarian capital Sofia - with a BQS reading of 56, took the last spot in the survey's Top 10 ready-for-tomorrow cities with highest BQS. Romanian capital Bucharest and Slovenian capital Ljubljana were included in the group of cities that are "comfortably enjoying today's applications" with BQS scores of 52 and just over 40, respectively.

Regional improvement of BQS:

Region No. of countries Avg 2008 BQS Avg 2009 BQS % improvement
Central and eastern Europe 13 30.2 38.2 26.7
Western Europe 20 37 35 13.8
North America 2 29.1 34.1 16.9
Asia Pacific 15 26.4 31.2 18.3
Latin America 6 22.1 24 8.5
Middle East and Africa 10 18.6 20.2 8.8

Top changes in BQS (2008-2009):

2008 BQS 2009 BQS
South Korea 38.25 65.99
Lithuania 35.15 54
Bulgaria 31.01 49
Sweden 41.15 57
Latvia 36.29 48
Romania 33.43 44.89
Denmark 34.3 44.89
Taiwan 23.93 34.43
Netherlands 37.62 45.59

Cities with the highest BQS from surveyed countries:

Top 10 cities (ready for tomorrow) BQS
Yokohama, Japan 85
Nagoya, Japan 82
Kaunas, Lithuania 79
Sapporo, Japan 72
Seoul, South Korea 68
Malmo, Sweden 67
Osaka, Japan 65
Wuhan, China 60
Uppsala, Sweden 57
Sofia, Bulgaria 56

Global average download throughput increased by 49% to 4.75 Megabits per second (Mbps) over the survey period while global average upload throughput increased by 69% to 1.3 Mbps, the authors said.

Using 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, the research team calculated statistical averages for each country of several key performance parameters used to determine the quality of a broadband connection. The team concluded that broadband experience is mainly affected by broadband speeds in both directions, latency, network oversubscription, and packet loss. These parameters were grouped into three major categories: download and upload throughput, and latency. The BQS for each country was determined using a formula that weighted each category according to the quality requirements of a set of popular applications now and in the future.

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