Lithuania flies the flag for fast internet service (UK at No 38)

Who comes first worldwide in delivering high speed internet to consumers? Well you can forget the USA and the UK. Step forward Lithuania in the No 1 spot, with a speed of 31.89 mbps, an awesome 99.6 per cent of the figure advertised.

Lithuania flies the flag

In second place as far as keeping promises is Sweden, with 26.23 mbps, 85 per cent of the figure claimed.

The USA is in 33rd position with 12.20 mbps, which is 93.6 per cent of the figure claimed. The UK is in 38th position with 11.04mbps, which is 72.6 per cent of the figure advertised.

At speed rank 66 is crisis country Greece with 6mbps, 44.4 per cent of the figure claimed.

"Service providers loudly promote their download speeds," says the Wall Street Journal. " But it's tough for consumers to know just how high-speed that Internet access really is."

Government regulators in several countries are now discovering that providers' performance often fail to match their claims: meaning more time spent waiting for video to buffer, photos to load, and online games to continue.

"We found that people were making decisions based on advertised speeds, which bore little resemblance to actual speeds," says Ian Macrae, director of the broadband-testing project for the U.K. Office of Communications.

In the past three years, says the WSJ, U.S. and U.K. regulators have been testing broadband lines and publishing their findings, running actual and advertised speeds side by side. The European Commission has now also signed on signed on with the same British firm SamKnows.

The FCC's August figures showed most companies in the US delivering 89% of advertised speed.

Steven Bauer, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, warns however: Stray too far from your wireless router, or too close to a microwave, and the signal could degrade. "All of those issues were affecting early versions of speed tests," he says. "The FCC is really careful to control for all of those effects."

The FCC and SamKnows have met with Internet providers and academics to design a methodology that will hold up to scrutiny.

SamKnows, started by Sam Crawford in 2003 whilst at university as part of his computer sciences degree, is now advertising for 10,000 volunteers across 30 countries. Check it out at: www.samknows.com

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