Nigeria ranks 142 in 2021 global internet speed as African countries dominate bottom 10

Nigeria has emerged 142nd out of 224 countries ranked for the speed of their internet broadband. This is according to a report on Worldwide broadband speed league 2021 released by Cable UK.

According to the report, Nigeria’s mean download speed stands at 8.68 megabits per second (mbps). What this means is that downloading a 5Gb HD movie in Nigeria will take approximately 1 hour, 18 minutes and 39 seconds. This result was obtained after testing 107,431 unique IPs around the country.

For emphasis, downloading a 5Gb HD movie in the country with the fastest broadband speed, Jersey would take 2 minutes 29 seconds. This is roughly 31 times faster than Nigeria’s broadband speed.

Nigeria ranks 142 in 2021 global internet speed as African countries dominate bottom 10
Image: Cable

Nigeria also trails other African countries like Ghana (9.23mbps), Ivory Coast (9.54mbps), Burkina Faso (10.73mbps), Kenya (11.27mbps), Madagascar (16.28mbps), South Africa (19.94mbps) and Reunion which is the African country with the highest speed (43.62mbps).

Nigeria still falls short of global average despite improvements

This year’s broadband speed (8.68mbps) is a vast improvement from 3.34mbps recorded as of September 2020 when Nigeria ranked 186. One of the reasons for this is the improved 4G network across the country. According to an Airtel report, the improved 4G network had resulted in a rise in data traffic, an increase in smartphone penetration, data customers, and large data volumes consumed per customer.

The total number of 4G connections in the country also enjoyed impressive growths, currently standing at 36,538,228. This is a huge improvement from 21,712,218 recorded in 2019.

But despite these huge strides, Nigeria still falls short of the global average speed which currently stands at 29.79Mbps, representing a 20% rise from 24.83Mbps recorded last year. Furthermore, the number also falls short of 10Mbps which is the minimum speed required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business according to UK telecoms watchdog, Ofcom.

The race towards achieving a respectable broadband penetration rate in Nigeria is clearly a marathon, with the country content with slowly but surely getting there. Currently standing at 45%, one of the challenges standing in the way is the Right of Way (RoW) fees charged by some states in the country.

As of April 2021, 29 out of 36 states in the country have yet to implement a Federal Government proposed RoW fee of N145/m. This is according to Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami.

One could only hope that the government’s recent approval for the deployment of 5G networks across the country would guarantee faster speeds in subsequent reports.

Sub-Saharan African countries dominate the bottom 10

In general, African countries ranked very poorly, with 6 out of the bottom 10 countries coming from the Sub-Saharan African region. These six countries include Somalia (1.59mbps), Djibouti (1.46mbps), South Sudan (1.40mbps), Equatorial Guinea (1.30mbps), Guinea-Bissau (1.24mbps) and Ethiopia (1.20mbps).

By region, North Africa emerged the region with the slowest overall internet speed as none of the countries ranked from the region made the top 120. The highest ranked country from the region was Morocco which was ranked 129th with a broadband speed of 10.33mbps.

The second-fastest internet in the region was Tunisia with an average speed of 7.46mbps while Egypt had the third fastest speed from the region with 6.94mbps. A report by Speedtest Intelligence, however, showed that every North African country “improved their mobile and fixed broadband speeds from Q2 2020 to Q1 2021, despite huge setbacks in the global economy.”

A major reason why African countries have really slow internet is the inadequate broadband infrastructure. For instance, Jersey which tops the ranking, is the first and only country in the world to make fibre to the premises (FTTP) available to every broadband user. Unlike fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), FTTP uses all fibre optic, making it the fastest type of fibre on the market.

There’s also a problem of slow internet adoption. While the world is quickly moving on to 5G internet, African countries are still struggling to upgrade their internet users from 3G to 4G. There’s therefore not enough incentive to upgrade internet facilities by network providers. This is also a problem affecting broadband penetration on the continent.


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