Exploring ultrafast connectivity around the world

Taking an ultrafast trip abroad

A study performed by cable.co.uk earlier this year placed the UK as the world’s 35th fastest-connected country, dropping from 31st last year. While that doesn’t necessarily sound awful, the place becomes a lot less impressive when compared to our neighbours - we’re now solidly placed in the bottom third of EU countries when it comes to Internet speeds.

Interestingly, our drop in position isn’t because of lowering speeds - it’s because of the significant investments that have been carried out by other countries over the last few years. Right now, we’re just starting up with a major investment in expanding ultrafast access via the LFFN Challenge Fund, which looks to pay major dividends over the next few years, building effective, real-fibre networks around the country.

We’re one of the first companies to benefit from the £200 million in funding made available through the LFFN programme, with our upcoming ultrafast network development across West Sussex being one of the first projects created through the fund. Through the development of the network, we’ll be bringing world-class multi-gigabit connectivity to thousands of schools and businesses around the county, helping to hugely increase speeds, working alongside other ISPs to bring the UK back to the top when it comes to connectivity.

However, there’s often a lot of unclarity as to the real effects of ultrafast Internet speeds, particularly when it comes to businesses and communities. We’ve already explored some of the major changes DarkLight’s made for local businesses with our case studies, but for this blog, we’re looking further afield, exploring some of the real differences that ultrafast networks have made around the world.

Discover the effects of fibre connectivity

In the modern day, various forms of ultrafast connectivity are available across a large amount of the world, driving innovation and digital engagement internationally. From the previously linked cable.co.uk study, Singapore is currently placed number 1 internationally, with an average download speed of an incredible 60.39 Mbps.

As suggested by the study, Singapore’s compact landmass (just over 700 square kilometres) has driven the speed of adoption for high-speed connectivity, with the country’s fibre network covering over 95% of the land. The ease of access to fibre connectivity has allowed the country to cut off outdated ADSL services entirely (as of April this year), and has driven an extremely successful digital economy. As of 2015, Singapore took up a full 6.5% of worldwide digitally-deliverable services, harnessing billions of dollars in commerce - and driving further investment in their connectivity.

Taking a more international look, Ofcom’s Benefits of Ultrafast Network Deployment report highlighted some key points observed from the rollout of fibre connectivity in several nations. In particular, the report suggests ‘a link between fibre connectivity and employment’, highlights various ‘environmental benefits’ and discusses the possibility of fibre rollouts cutting down rural-urban migration.

Of course, the benefits of ultrafast connectivity aren’t exclusively measured in financial terms. As hinted by that last point, fibre Internet can have a genuinely positive effect on communities - perhaps surprisingly, for those who associate tech with a withdrawal from society. One of the better-known examples of this positive change is found in Chattanooga. Famous as a rail port, Chattanooga found itself increasingly cut out economically over the years, with many moving away from the city to seek out employment elsewhere.

In 2010, however, the city became the first in America to benefit from gigabit-level connectivity, driven by a municipal investment in ultrafast Internet. Since this point, the city’s seen some major changes, from the establishment of major new employers to the introduction of community-focused features - and the rebranding of Chattanooga as an ideal destination for tech companies.

Since the introduction of fibre, the city’s population has significantly increased, while a steady stream of community events have been appearing, all driven by Chattanooga’s resurgence as a key part of the local economy. With the city clearly showing the potential that ultrafast connectivity offers, we’re looking to follow their example, working to make our home city of Bradford an even better place to live and work, courtesy of major programs like the Bradford BID.