I discovered that the website http://www.speedtest.net saves the tests you run. It’s an interesting insight in many respects. Bandwidth, and high-speed internet access in general, is a luxury despite how crucial you may think it is in your life. In Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, during dry season they are without electricity 6-8 hours per day.
The high bandwidth in the places below reflect the generally higher standard of living and infrastructure in the places concerned. I still don’t know why Vietnam had such high bandwidth. I presume it was a government initiative to ensure ample bandwidth, which is ironic since they block sites that could foment dissent like Facebook and WordPress.
In places like Cambodia, Laos, The Philippines, Nepal, and India, not only is wifi hard to find, it’s ridiculously slow. It becomes nearly impossible to upload videos to Youtube, for example, and working on blog posts can be frustratingly slow. The chart is a bit skewed by the incredible speeds in Vietnam, but hopefully it still gives an idea.
In Vietnam I switched from using Vimeo (it was too slow outside the U.S.) to Youtube for my video hosting needs because I could upload gigabytes and gigabytes of data in just a couple of hours. In Nepal, I swear the ones and zeros were carried by a series of yaks over the Himalayas and then carried onward by carrier pigeon.
Back in the U.S. I haven’t found the internet here terribly fast, but it’s generally much more available. I was shocked during a recent shopping trip that the two stores I was in offered free wifi to customers. I can’t even find free wifi in cafes in India, for example (though this may have something to do with the rampant security paranoia there).
Anyway, lots of insights and inferences can be drawn from the chart below, covering the past six months. If you’re a geek like me, you might find it interesting. If you’re not, I guess you won’t :). The image below can be clicked to open it to its full size.