Updated 6.30pm with GO reaction

Malta has ranked 48th in a worldwide test of broadband speeds, with an average speed of 10.17Mbps.

This is just a fifth of top-ranking Singapore, which had an average speed of 55.13Mbps, fast enough to download a 7.5GB film in 18 minutes and 34 seconds.

In Malta, that same film would take over one hour and 40 minutes to download.

READ: Malta’s broadband is slow, most expensive

There were 25 EU member states ahead of Malta in the ranking, with only Cyprus and Greece registering slower speeds.

The worldwide table was compiled by Cable.co.uk using data collected by research group M-Lab, a partnership between New America's Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research and Princeton University's PlanetLab.

More than 63 million speed tests were carried out across the world in the 12 months up to May 2017 as part of the study.

MCA raises questions about study methodology 

The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) has questioned the reliability of the study, saying that its methodology was not sufficiently explained.

The MCA said the tools provided by M-Lab, particularly the Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT), provide insights into broadband performance. However, it said that while this tool was particularly useful to diagnose network issues, its efficacy for benchmarking performance across countries was severely limited.

"Nonetheless, the MCA notes that benchmarks that seek to compare the performance across different countries necessitate strict methodology requirements that go beyond the functionality of NDT. 

"These would include information such as the number of samples by fixed and mobile technologies, as well as objective reference to the location of the servers against which the benchmarks are performed.

"The MCA notes that the source did not publish such relevant methodology information in conjunction with this country ranking, thus seriously bringing into question the significance and reliability of this exercise.

"The MCA, through its quality of service framework and monitoring programme setup in 2013, ensures that through consistent and comparable methodologies, internet service providers in Malta meet the internet access speeds attached to their offers."

Melita says its average speed 18.3mbps

With this result, Melita would rank 25th in the world and mid-table in the EU," it noted

The published results of Cable.co.uk represents an average of all Malta’s Internet providers, not just Melita, the company noted. In the following link you may see the results split by operator.

According to this study, Melita reaches an average of 18.3 Mbps download speed, while the average in Malta is 10.17 Mbps.

"With this result, Melita would rank 25th in the world and mid-table in the EU," it noted.

The company also noted that the study seemed to have been conducted on servers located overseas, meaning results depended on third-party networks abroad. 

'Our studies show faster speeds' - Vodafone

Reacting to the results, Vodafone Malta echoed the MCA's questions about the study's methodology. 

It said that the Network Diagnostics Test used by researchers was better suited to identifying network problems rather than speeds. The sample size quoted in the report was also too small to reflect true statistical significance, the company said. 

"Moreover, the report fails to differentiate between fixed and mobile internet. In the case of Vodafone Malta, the fact that the overwhelming majority of our subscribers make use of our mobile internet services as opposed to fixed internet further skews and dilutes the resulting figures," it said. 

The company's own tests showed that speeds were "significantly and consistently" higher than those quoted in the study, Vodafone added. 

GO says studies show it is fastest mobile provider

GO also questioned the research methodology used, saying average speeds GO actually observes on its network are more than twice as fast.

“GO’s current product offering in fact starts at levels far higher than then numbers being quoted,” it said.

Nationwide research also showed that its mobile internet service was significantly faster than that of any competitor “and among the best performing in Europe

The provider also noted ongoing investments, saying that its fibre to the home network, which now reaches over 50,000 households, is currently already achieving speeds of up to 500 MBPS. The introduction of VDSL 2 (very-high-bit-rate) on the copper network also allows higher speeds than those claimed in this report.

On the mobile broadband infrastructure side, research carried out by Net Check GmbH, a German firm specialising in performance testing of mobile networks (www.netcheck.de), also shows that GO has the best mobile network in Malta, it said, adding that nationwide research also showed that its mobile internet service was significantly faster than that of any competitor “and among the best performing in Europe”.

“In urban areas, GO’s 4G mobile internet network delivered average download speeds of 85.4 Mbps compared to the runner-up which had an average download speed of 56.8 Mbps. Outside of urban areas, GO delivered average download speeds of 79.0 Mbps, compared to the runner-up with an average download speed of 55.0 Mbps.

“On the international connectivity infrastructure side, GO has doubled its capacity and improved network resiliency to the European mainland, ensuring that GO customers benefit from high quality interconnection to the key European internet points of presence,” it concluded.


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