Vietnam's Internet climbs on global speed rankings despite repeated disruptions

By Luu Quy   March 19, 2023 | 11:11 pm PT
Vietnam's Internet climbs on global speed rankings despite repeated disruptions
A person measures Internet speed on a laptop in Hanoi, January 30, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy
Vietnam's fixed broadband Internet speed climbed six positions to 39th place worldwide in February, surprisingly at a time when all of the country's subsea cables were encountering problems.

The Speedtest Global Index released recently by Ookla, an American firm that describes itself as a global leader in network and connectivity intelligence, showed Vietnam's fixed broadband network hit a download speed of 91.6 Mbps in February, up nearly 9% from the previous month's 84.18 Mbps, marking the highest speed ever recorded by Vietnam.

With such speeds, Vietnam's fixed broadband rose to 39th position last month from the 45th place in January.

The mobile Internet speed, however, dropped from 46.66 Mbps in January to 42.67 Mbps last month, resulting in a ranking of 52nd, falling nine places from January.

The result is quite similar to what was recorded by the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC) under the Ministry of Information and Communications

As measured by the center’s i-Speed tool, the download speed of the mobile network decreased from 40.82 Mbps in January to 36.45 Mbps last month, while that of the fixed network increased from 85.8 Mpbs to 89.73 Mbps.

However, the above result is contrary to the actual assessment of Vietnamese Internet users.

The first two months of the year were a period when all five undersea fiber optic cables connecting Vietnam to the world encountered issues.

By late January, four out of five undersea cables connecting Vietnam to the world were broken, and on Feb. 21, it was confirmed that the remaining one had also malfunctioned.

A survey by VnExpress launched on Jan. 30, and is still available for voting, showed that 95% of 15,086 people surveyed said the Internet has been slower and only 1% said it has been faster.

Explaining the difference in Internet speed measurement and actual experience, a telecommunications expert who requested anonymity explained that 80% of users in Vietnam use the Internet for Google, Facebook, Netfix, YouTube and that when the country's cables suffer technical problems, connections to those foreign services are seriously affected.

"The breakdown of the undersea fiber optic cable only slowed down Vietnamese users' access to international services, meanwhile the Internet speed measuring tools usually choose the measuring point in the country," said the expert.

For example, VNNIC states on the website of its i-Speed tool, speed measurement servers are located at stations of the National Internet Exchange Station (VNIX), Internet service providers (ISPs) as well as of major network operators in the country.

When using the tool Speedtest, Ookla it also uses a point inside Vietnam for Internet measurement.

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