Top 10 Expat Havens With The Fastest Internet In The World


The Best Destinations In The World, Sorted By Internet Speed Connection

For internet savvy expats, having the fastest internet connection is everything. It can be one of their main concerns on the checklist when considering moving overseas. It might be a deal maker or breaker depending on the destination’s internet infrastructure.

Internet Society – an independent organization monitoring all things internet, like the policy, technology standards, and development – has published a recent measure of the world’s average connections speeds. We’ve analyzed this information and compared it to our picks for top expat countries. With this results, we found the best expat destinations to live, invest, and retire in the world based on internet speed.

The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) stated that the internet passed the 3 billion user milestone back in 2015. The Internet has become an integral part of our lives. Something so common that we just take it for granted. But when moving abroad, you may find these accommodations to not be the same compared to the homeland. This could go both ways, actually, as the U.S. only makes it up to the 21st place on this list. Even so, it’s not a bad place to be after all, since up from the 40th place, average internet speeds start from 20 Mb/s for download and 8 for upload.

If you are looking for the best expat destinations in the world by internet connection speed, these are the top 10 to look into:

10. Romania (3rd) 62.53 – 31.85 Mb/s

There are a couple of reasons people use to try to explain why Romania has got all the way up to the lightning speeds they have. This, especially being such a small, pretty under-developed country.

One reason is that there are fewer people that use internet than average in the country. Internet penetration rate in Romania is only 50%, as stated by the ITU.

But the real reason comes from the early days, as well. When broadband services were starting, the infrastructure still wasn’t ready to meet the user’s needs. Then, small, quick-thinking entrepreneurs started developing small neighborhood networks. These were localized and tidied up to only serve a handful of customers by LAN (Local Area Networks).

This has led Romanians to reach peak connections as high as 100 Mb/s. It comes with the cost of urban littering, as these networks are visibly tangled around in urban areas.

Romania made it to the bottom of the list because it is a not-so-great retirement destination with a superb internet connection speed. Winters can be harsh, development is generally poor outside Bucharest, and the public health system is a real concern. On the bright side, Romania can be one of the cheapest alternatives in Europe. Housing can be as low as $33,000 for a house, and renting can start as low as $200 for an apartment outside Bucharest.

9. Chile (47th) 15.66 – 3.59  Mb/s

Known popularly as the only “first-world” country in Latin America. Chile breaks many Latin standards in various fields, one of those fields being first-line internet services.

The basic plan for minimum speed internet connection starts at 20mb/s at 20.990 Chilean pesos (around 32.25$). Average household plans can reach all the way up to 160mb/s.

They are also the first country in the world to amend its telecommunication laws to maintain network neutrality. This forbids providers from arbitrarily blocking, discriminating, or restricting legal user activity. These measures are forbidden even based on sources or ownership of content.

8. Thailand (40th) 21 – 8.57  Mb/s

You could say they are falling behind against some of their other Asian counterparts. Still, Thailand offers an attractive internet service when it comes to speed, and more importantly, cost.

As of today, the minimum average plan for internet connectivity is a 30 Mb plan at 599 baht (around 17$). Making Thailand one of the cheapest places in the world for reliable internet services.

But like many of their other Asian counterparts, NGO Privacy International reported that the Thai military government has its police force monitoring online speech. As well, the government has empowered networks of citizens. They encourage them to denounce users who post content against government policies.

Citizens are so active in these practices, that (as Orwellian as it may sound) there’s a program called the “Cyber Scout” program. It encourages youngsters to monitor online content and report it.

Many external news sites like BBC one, BBC two, CNN, Yahoo! News and others get blocked from view, including a handful of message boards. Commerce platforms like Amazon; and other major sites like YouTube and Facebook have been blocked depending on what content is trending at the time.

7. Slovenia (38th) 22.25 – 7.48  Mb/s

In Slovenia, Internet connectivity is almost as alluring as its Nordic sceneries.

Following European standards, Slovenia delivers your average first-world internet service like everywhere else in Europe. Internet providers usually start their plans at 100 MB, coupled with a 3 GB data plan and cable TV services starting at 48€.

Since 2010, the Slovenian National Assembly changed their laws regarding gambling. This has led to the government blocking access to internet gambling websites. If you are the expat gambler type, Slovenia should be a pass. But in every other way, the internet is yours to surf.

6. Uruguay (33rd) 24.33 – 6.33  Mb/s

“The Switzerland” of Latin America, holds that nickname boldly when it comes to internet connection standards.

In a region full of snails and turtles, Uruguay blazes through with a connection of European standards. Today, the minimum speed plans start as low as 890 Uruguay Pesos (around 31.54$) for a 30 Mb download and 4 Mb upload. Uruguay’s market is monopolized by government Telecommunications company Antel.

On 2010, Antel announced that it would deploy Fiber to the Home (FTTH). The Antel website claims to have connected over 389,000 homes to the Internet via fiber. There is no evidence the government will allow private companies to offer fiber networks to homes. Thus, it seems the state plans to continue with that monopoly for years to come.

Uruguay allegedly allows a totally free, unrestricted and un-surveilled access to the internet. It is up to you, however (with that adamant monopoly going on), to believe if that is true or not.

5. Ireland (32nd) 24.56 – 8.56  Mb/s

Ireland’s history with the Internet goes all the way back to 1992 when Barry Flanagan began “Ireland On-line” in his own house in Galway. The Irish believe in the power of the internet, as they were early adopters with a high connectivity rate. Today, internet in Ireland is a big part of t the Republic’s economy and education. The estimated internet content consumption in 2012 by International Economic Consultants Indecon was around 5,306.3 million Euros.

The norm in Ireland is shifting to even faster speeds. As of right now, every basic plan starts with a 100 Mb wide fiber connection at around 55€ a month.

Censorship in Ireland has seen controversy, as the government introduced a “graduated response” policy in 2008. It is basically a “three strikes” policy aimed at pirated content. Even so, there are no government restrictions on internet access and freedom of speech. Credible reports on surveillance and monitoring are non-existing.

4. Spain (28th) 26.51 – 7.21  Mb/s

ADSL arrived a little later in Spain than in France, in 1999. Still, Spain offers quite a great range of connectivity options at excellent prices. Internet providers start their broadband plans at only 9.65€ for 12 Mb ADSL connections, and 20 Mb for Fiber optic connections, at the same price.

Spain is also known for promoting a totally free internet experience, without any censorship whatsoever. A huge plus for expats.

And to top all of that, have you seen ALL the things you can do in Spain? It is a superb destination for expats. Spain can take you for a ride to the best Europe has to offer, and at better prices than its western counterparts!

3. Portugal (25th) 28.32 – 6.16  Mb/s

Portugal has had a late adoption of ADSL services. As late as the year 2002, while penetration rate of the internet service is only 64%. With an internet infrastructure of European standards, and with a penetration that low, Portuguese internet speeds are quite fast.

A 200 Mb wide connection, the standard for Portuguese users, usually starts at 20€ a month. Other services like 1 GB connections are available at request.

There are absolutely no reported restrictions or surveillance for Portugal’s internet service.

You can sit on the famous beaches and restaurants in Algarve, take out your laptop, and surf away while enjoying one of the most exquisite views in Europe.

2. France (13th) 35.1 – 12.76 Mb/s

The Musée d’Orsay is on the left.

France may essentially be a socialist country. But the excellent speeds the French enjoy is due thanks to an intense competition between internet service providers. This has led to the introduction of high-speed ADSL services at moderate prices, mostly in the metropolitan areas like Paris.

But ADSL cannot reach some parts of rural France. They go by the name of “Zone Blanches” or White Zones. The users from these areas have to recur to Satellite connections in most cases to access internet service.

Many departments have chosen to subsidize Satellite internet. They have also subsidized private entities to deploy fiber throughout the territory.

 1. Singapore (1st) 97.67 – 78.69 Mb/s

Singapore has been, even before the birth of the internet, interested in maintaining its citizens connected. So when the technology was available, a government-led project called the “Singapore ONE” was born all the way back in 1996. The goal: develop a high-speed broadband network platform using DSL, fiber, and cable, to be ready for the future of communications.

This foundation made Singapore take the lead of the connectivity race, at an incredible 99% adoption rate. Singapore’s system was so prepared and advanced for its time, they now are the only people in the world with a median connection soaring all the way above the 100 Mb/s. They have the fastest average internet connection in the world.

Their newest standard broadband plans, a 1 Gigabyte wide connection (a more than exclusive option anywhere else in the world), comes as low as 49.99 Singaporean dollars a month (Around 35.38$).

It is important to note, however, that censorship of the internet in Singapore is rather sensible. Many popular American sites are blocked. The Singaporean police are known to pinpoint and arrest users over what they share. Derogatory, abusive, threatening, or offensive content on social media are all main offenders.


About Author

Alfredo Capella

Alfredo is a Venezuelan born Business Communications Major, specialized in digital marketing. He is internationally experienced in US and Latin America in TV, journalism, and marketing. While currently taking up roots in Panama, he likes to spend his free time discovering the world on his skateboard, and playing the guitar.