Looking For Faster Broadband? These Broadband Providers Offer The Best Speeds

Looking For Faster Broadband? These Broadband Providers Offer The Best Speeds

If you value speed, you’re in luck – Singaporeans have the best internet speeds in the world. Singapore tops Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index (as of January 2019), with an average download speed of 197.04 Mbps – that’s leagues ahead of the global average, which currently stands at 55.52 Mbps.

When it comes to the most affordable broadband in the world though, you won’t find us anywhere near the top. As of 2018, Singaporeans pay an average of US$50.43 (S$68.43) for broadband. This puts Singapore at number 78 (out of 195 countries) for the cheapest average cost of broadband in the world.

However, we do get a lot of speed for the price we pay. At just US$0.03 (S$0.04) per megabit, Singaporeans pay the least for each megabit of broadband, compared to the rest of the world.

Do you really need faster broadband?

Faster broadband is nice, but what can you really do with all that speed anyway?

Sure, you can get by with a slower connection, but there are many situations in which faster broadband can dramatically improve your online experience:

  1. Streaming video. Having fast broadband means being able to stream videos at high-definition and 4k quality without lag or buffering – even simultaneously on multiple devices. Pairing this with a service that helps you bypass geo restrictions on sites like Hulu and TVB (such as ViewQwest’s Freedom DNS) will give you greater access to video content around the world. 
  1. Playing or downloading games. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of being disconnected mid-game due to a slow connection, or waiting hours for a large game to download, then you’ll benefit from speedy broadband. 
  1. Video conferencing. Choppy audio, dropped connections and an inability to tell if your conversation partner’s lack of response is due to lag or just sheer indifference; chatting on Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime can get a bit awkward on a slow connection. 
  1. Uploading or livestreaming content on social media. If you’re an aspiring social media influencer, YouTube personality, Twitch gamer, or simply looking to livestream your puppy cam from the living room, you’ll need a fast, reliable internet connection with good upload speeds. 
  1. Multiple users and devices connected to the network. Imagine streaming a video on your tablet, downloading files on your PC and sending online texts via smartphone. Now if you live in a big household, multiply that by several people. Having fast broadband means not having to fight with family over whose turn it is to hog the bandwidth.

Why do broadband speeds differ?

Even when different internet service providers (ISPs) advertise the same packages – for instance, a 1Gbps or a 2Gbps package – your actual, day-to-day speeds will still differ.

It’s important to understand that when a package is advertised as say, 1Gbps, this refers to bandwidth, or the amount of data that can be transmitted. In other words, 1Gbps doesn’t represent the actual download speed you’ll get, but the theoretical maximum speed the broadband package can deliver. You won’t be hitting this advertised number most of the time, as there are many factors that can affect your broadband speed.

Some of these factors are beyond your ISP’s control. For instance, if your router isn’t correctly configured or is placed in an area of your home where electrical devices, concrete walls and even mirrors are getting in the way of its signal, your broadband speeds may suffer.

However, broadband speeds can also depend on your ISP. When too many people are connected to an ISP’s networks at once, congestion can occur, making broadband speeds slower for everyone. So in order to ensure that networks operate smoothly, some ISPs use a network management technique called traffic shaping to prioritise some traffic over others. This could include limiting bandwidth for heavy-data users – especially those who use peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications – or slowing down speeds during peak hours.

The different network management policies implemented by the various ISPs in Singapore can mean that even if there are several 1Gbps fibre broadband plans in the market, your speeds may vary depending on the ISP you choose.

Who offers the fastest broadband in Singapore?

So which ISPs should you be looking at if you value speed?

To answer this question, we can turn to Ookla’s Speedtest Market Report on Singapore. Ookla’s Speedtest is one of the most popular ways to measure internet performance, as their data is compiled from hundreds of millions of users worldwide. In addition, they have more than 5,000 geographically distributed servers to ensure that users can get local readings, wherever they are in the world.

When it comes to measuring the speeds of Singapore’s biggest ISPs, here’s what the report found:

When it comes to fastest download speeds, ViewQwest leads the pack. It offers significantly higher speeds than the rest of the competition, although MyRepublic does come a bit close. It’s worth noting that ViewQwest does not implement traffic shaping, which may contribute to its better speeds. ViewQwest also utilises latency-based routing, which means that they use smart routing equipment to actively monitor and optimise the latency to certain destinations around the world, giving consumers faster access to favourite websites and servers.

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On the other hand, M1 has the best upload speeds compared to the other ISPs.

However, these measurements were determined by looking at the top 10% download and upload speeds of each provider. These results represent what a consumer can expect by subscribing to each ISP’s top tiers of service.

The average consumer can expect speeds closer to those represented in the chart below, which looks at speeds across Singapore as a whole:

What else should you look for?

Speed is a good metric to look out for when choosing a provider, but it’s not the only one. You’ll also want to compare broadband plans for qualities such as pricing, extra charges, available contract tenures, add-on services and bundled freebies.

With so much of our lives tethered to online connectivity, spending some time to find the best broadband package to suit your needs is worth it.

This article was originally published on October 19, 2018.
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