Have you ever tried to download and watch a movie at an airport? The loading circle of death is enough to get on your last nerve as well as make even the shortest trip last a lifetime. As shown by this scenario, the Internet speed is something that you probably don’t notice until it’s bad.
Reasons You May Need Fast Internet Abroad
Internet speed becomes an even more significant issue when you need it for your job. Whether you are a digital nomad, travel for work or simply work from home, a good connection can improve productivity and make you a reliable team player. On the other hand, slow internet can lead to miscommunication and cause stress.
Reasons you may need fast Internet abroad include:
- Turning in school assignments when studying abroad
- Getting in touch with your accommodation such as Airbnb when traveling
- Downloading your flight pass
- Keeping in touch with family or friends
- Working abroad as a digital nomad
- Attending a conference abroad
- Traveling for business
Other Internet Considerations While Abroad
In addition to Internet speed, there are other considerations when you’re planning on working abroad. These include surveillance, network access inequality, freedom of speech restrictions, social media restrictions and if there are VPN bans.
This refers to countries that allow surveillance of browsing and online communications. Many governments have the ability to monitor your online activity. This is important to be aware of if you are working from a different country.
Network Access Inequality
This is the opposite of net neutrality, in which Internet service providers should allow access to all content and applications, regardless of the source. Network access inequality means these countries are able to favor or block products or websites. When you are working or visiting a different country, it is helpful to know if your search results are being skewed.
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech refers to the right to express your opinion without censorship, restraint or punishment. If you are in a profession that involves writing or speaking opinions, such as a journalist, it’s important to be aware of how these laws vary in other countries.
Social Media Restrictions
Many social media apps and sites are blocked in different countries. If you are an influencer or social media specialist that’s planning on traveling to a different country, knowing these restrictions will allow you to plan around them while working abroad.
Virtual private networks or VPNs allow you to change your IP address and re-route traffic through a different countries’ network. If a country has any of the above restrictions, you may be able to get around them using a VPN. However, some governments have realized this and now ban VPNs.
12 Countries With the Fastest Internet
When 207 countries and territories were examined, the average mean broadband speed in 2019 was 11.03 megabits per second (Mbps). We took a look at the top countries that have a population over 500,000 and note their download time, plus any aforementioned restrictions. All of them are well above that average Internet speed, making them ideal for working or studying abroad.
Taiwan is the country with the fastest average Internet. 23,773,876 residents get to enjoy an average download speed of 85.02 Mbps and 5GB movies can be downloaded in 8 minutes and 2 seconds. While this country makes it easy to access the Internet, they do participate in web surveillance and restrict speech.
Coworking spaces to check out in Taiwan:
Singapore has the second-fastest Internet with a mean download speed of 70.86 Mbps and a movie download speed of 9 minutes and 38 seconds for 5G. Similar to Taiwan, Singapore has web surveillance and restricts speech.
Singapore ranked second for coworking growth per capita. In the last year, they’ve seen a 4.7% growth.
Coworking spaces to check out in Singapore:
The Scandinavian country of Sweden ranked number three for Internet speed. Not only do they have an average download speed of 55.18 Mbps and movie download speed of 12 minutes and 22 seconds, but they have no restrictions on Internet access.
Sweden has no web surveillance, no restriction on speech, has net neutrality and no restriction on social media. If you are planning on working here, there shouldn’t be any Internet concerns to deter you.
Coworking spaces to check out in Sweden:
Neighbor to Sweden, Denmark has the fourth-fastest Internet. They enjoy an average speed of 49.19 Mbps and are able to download a 5 GB movie in 13 minutes and 53 seconds. However, unlike Sweden, they do have web surveillance in Denmark.
Coworking spaces to check out in Denmark:
Fifth on the list is Japan. Japan has an average Internet speed of 42.77 Mbps. The average time to download a 5GB movie is 15 minutes and 58 seconds. This is a little over 2 minutes slower than Denmark, but still well above the average of all the countries analyzed. Japan does have web surveillance as well as restrictions on speech.
Coworking spaces to check out in Japan:
Luxemburg, known as a powerful investment management center in Europe, has kept up with advancements in technology. They have the 6th fastest Internet, with a speed of 41.69 Mbps. The average time to download a 5GB movie in Luxembourg is 16 minutes and 23 seconds. While the citizens have net neutrality and no restrictions on speech or social media, they do have web surveillance.
Coworking spaces to check out in Luxembourg:
Although it may be small, the Netherlands has a strong Internet connection. They have a mean download speed of 40.21 Mbps and it only takes 16 minutes and 59 seconds to download a 5GB movie. Similar to Luxembourg, the Netherlands have web surveillance.
Coworking spaces to check out in the Netherlands:
Known as a peaceful country, Switzerland doesn’t have any limitations on their Internet. They enjoy an average speed of 38.85 Mbps free from prying eyes. It takes about 17 minutes and 34 seconds to download a 5GB movie. If you are looking for a trip to the Alps, you can try working abroad in Switzerland.
Coworking spaces to check out in Switzerland:
Another Scandinavian country, Norway has the ninth fastest Internet. When you are taking a break from visiting the Fjords, you can download your travel guide for the next day at a speed of 38.85 Mbps. Download a 5GB movie at the end of your busy day in 17 minutes and 34 seconds.
Coworking spaces to check out in Norway:
If you’re attending a conference in Spain, you can rest easy knowing that they have the tenth fastest internet speed at 36.06 Mbps. Your slides for the presentations should download in no time, with 5GB videos only taking 18 minutes and 56 seconds to download. While Spain has net neutrality and doesn’t restrict social media use, they do have web surveillance and a restriction of speech.
Coworking spaces to check out in Spain:
The eleventh on the list is Belgium, which has an average download speed of 35.69 Mbps. While you are enjoying your chocolates or beer, you can also download a 5MB movie in 19 minutes and 8 seconds. While in Belgium, be aware that they do have web surveillance.
Coworking spaces to check out in Belgium:
12. United States
You may be surprised to find the United States so far down the list. While they do have the tech hub of Silicon Valley, the U.S. does not have the fastest Internet. The average download speed in the United States is 32.89 Mbps and a 5GB movie takes 20 minutes and 45 seconds to download. This country also has network access inequality, meaning that you may not be seeing all products and businesses when you use the Internet in the U.S.
Coworking spaces to check out in the United States:
Top 50 Countries With the Fastest Internet
|Country||Mean download speed (mbps)||Web Surveilance||Network access inequality||Restrict speech||Restrict social media||VPN ban|
|Republic of Korea||19.18||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Republic of Moldova||11.56||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|United Arab Emirates||9.62||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
There are many benefits of having fast Internet but it’s important to be sure you have the proper security while using it. Use a VPN while traveling abroad and download an antivirus to keep your computer or mobile device safe.