Sweden and The Netherlands have the best performing broadband Internet connections in Europe, helped by investments in high-speed fiber-optic links and upgrades to cable TV networks, a study found.
Japan was the global leader by a large margin in the study, released on Friday, carried out by the Universities of Oxford and Oviedo and sponsored by network gear maker Cisco.
The study is based on measurements from Speedtest.net which helps consumers test their broadband connections.
A total of 8 million tests were gathered in May, and the study's authors combined data for upload and download speed as well as latency--the time it takes for a data packet to travel from source to destination--into a "broadband quality score."
Several industrialized countries, such as Great Britain, Spain, Australia and Italy, offer broadband speeds that on average are just below what is necessary to make good use of broadband applications such as watching videos on YouTube, video chatting and small file sharing, the researchers found.
Fernando Gil de Bernabe, a managing director at Cisco, said surprises had included Latvia, which was ranked fourth globally for broadband quality, although it lags industrialized countries in terms of the number of households who have broadband. Slovenia and Lithuania also scored in the top 10.
The United States and Russia are ranked 16th and 17th, ahead of Bulgaria but trailing Finland.
When drawing up the ranking, the study did not take into account how widespread broadband use is and how much it costs.
Cisco, which sells routers and switches that direct Web traffic, has benefited from global phone companies and large corporations upgrading their networks to meet growing Internet use.
The top 10 countries in broadband quality:
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