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US, China, South Korea and Spain top global Gigabit league

Gigabit internet is now available to an estimated 354 million people in 51 countries, accounting for 5% of the global population, according to research commissioned by network quality assurance specialist Viavi. 

According to the research, the US is the global Gigabit leader, with Gigabit internet available to 68.5 million people, up four million since August 2018. China comes a close second, overtaking South Korea in the rankings. In China, Gigabit internet is now available to 61.5 million people, up by 41 million people since August of last year. The number represents 4.5% of the country’s population.

South Korea takes third place, with Gigabit access for 46.9 million. 

The leading European country is Spain with 30.1 million having access to Gigabit services, giving it third place globally, while Canada comes fourth with 15.9 million. 

Singapore remains the global leader in penetration of Gigabit internet which is available to 95% of its population. 

In the last 12 months, only two new Gigabit countries have appeared – Bahrain and Malaysia, indicating that growth has slowed since last year when eight joined the ranks of Gigabit internet countries.

At the other end of the scale, 50% of the global population still does not have any form of internet access, according to Viavi’s survey. 

In terms of access technologies, cellular technology’s share of Gigabit internet provision has increased with a corresponding drop in fibre’s share. Viavi said that, as 5G networks become more widespread, this trend is expected to continue. Fibre remains the backhaul infrastructure of choice across most cellular, cable and telecom networks, however.

“Not surprisingly, we are seeing a gradual shift away from wired Gigabit internet provision toward wireless technologies. As commercial 5G networks are rolled out in greater numbers, the pace of this transition will escalate radically and soon reach a tipping point,” said Sameh Yamany, chief technology officer, Viavi. 

“Yet even with the global rise of 5G networks, the importance of testing and troubleshooting fibre will remain paramount as mobile operators deploy more and more fibre-based network infrastructure.”

Tags: Gigabit, Viavi