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Singapore again tops in peak connection speed

Singapore has the highest average peak connection speed in the world for the fourth quarter running.
Singapore has the highest average peak connection speed in the world for the fourth quarter running. PHOTO: EPA

Republic at summit for fourth straight quarter: Akamai report

Singapore has the highest average peak connection speed in the world for the fourth quarter running, according to the Akamai State of the Internet report.

The Republic came in tops with 146.9 Mbps, an 8.3 per cent jump from last quarter.

This puts it ahead of Asian neighbours Hong Kong (110.3 Mbps) and Indonesia (110.2 Mbps), who came in second and third respectively.

These high connection speeds are a boon to heavy users who stream videos online, and can also be tapped to stream virtual reality experiences in the future.

The quarterly report, which was released last month, analysed data from over 800 million unique IPv4 addresses from 243 countries and regions. These addresses connected to the cloud-computing Akamai Intelligent Platform in the first quarter of this year.

However, while Singapore was ranked first for average peak connection speed, its average connection speed of 16.5 Mbps was 13th in the world, and fourth in the Asia-Pacific behind South Korea (29 Mbps), Hong Kong (19.9 Mbps) and Japan (18.2 Mbps). Explaining the difference between the two measures, Mr Jan Wuppermann, executive director of Deloitte Consulting in South-east Asia, drew the analogy of a highway.

"When the highway is empty, your car can go at its maximum speed, or peak speed," he said. "But when there are many cars on the highway - such as when everyone is using the same bandwidth for streaming, surfing and downloading during peak hours - you end up with traffic jams, or a lower average speed."

Mr Wuppermann attributed Singapore's stellar performance to "additional capacity being released and ready for service" as well as "continuous effort towards optimisation of infrastructure".

He added that there may also have been changes in consumer demand, with customers opting for higher-speed plans in order to stream high-definition videos.

IMPACT ON CONSUMERS

According to Mr Frederic Giron, research director and vice-president of tech research firm Forrester, such high speeds will benefit heavy users the most.

He said: "Our research shows that milllenials, or those aged 18 to 35, are changing their TV-viewing habits. For instance, they increasingly binge-watch multiple consecutive hours of content. A robust infrastructure with high speeds will give them more satisfying experiences."

Such high connection speeds may also be tapped with the rise of virtual reality. Mr Dustin Kehoe, research director for Current Analysis, Asia Pacific, said: "We will start to see virtual reality emerge in industries such as healthcare and manufacturing, and we are also seeing more use cases in security surveillance. You will need at least a 2.5GB connection to enable something so immersive."

Certain types of smart technology could also draw on this high bandwidth, although Mr Shiv Putcha, associate director of Consumer Mobility & Telecoms at IDC Asia-Pacific, said that the benefits depend on the application.

"There are many Internet of Things use cases that can work even on 2G, but the ones with high bandwidth, low latency requirements usually work better with the newer network technologies," said Mr Putcha.

Although Singapore has consistently been performing well when it comes to Internet connectivity speeds, Mr Soh Siow Meng, senior research manager for Current Analysis, Asia Pacific, cautioned that Internet service providers (ISPs) have to ensure the network has the capacity to support the growth of Internet traffic.

He said: "ISPs need to constantly invest in their network. In some markets, there were ISPs that underestimated the impact of video, such as the introduction of Netflix, resulting in network congesting and slow download speeds."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore again tops in peak connection speed'. Print Edition | Subscribe