Internet speeds and costs in expat hubs

Published:  27 Apr at 6 PM
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Keeping in touch with this fast-changing planet is now essential for the majority of expatriates and requires fast internet connections which don’t cost the earth.

Once upon a long time ago, adventurous expats left their home countries to lose themselves in new cultures or to work in exotic locations they’d previously never heard of. In the present day internet age, it’s possible not only to get a grasp of any world destination before you leave, it’s also possible to earn as you learn and still keep in touch with friends and family back home.

The internet has changed peoples’ lives in many ways, and is proving invaluable to expats working, exploring or living overseas – provided the connection is good and the costs kept to a minimum. As are result, connectivity and price are now high on the checklists of expats everywhere. The independent organisation Internet Society recently published a report giving the world’s best and worse internet speeds, and combining this information with reliable picks for top expat destinations will help expats who can’t bear not to be online.

The tiny city-state of Singapore makes it to the top of the list for internet reliability, connectivity and speed for its DSL, cable and fibre high-speed broadband network. The state has led the connectivity race since 1996, and was known for its advanced system when many other countries were struggling to adapt to the new world. Nowadays, expats living and working in Singapore can take advantage of the world’s fastest median internet connection soaring way over 100Mb/s for an average charge of around $35.38 per month.

France’s internet service gives excellent speeds due to intense competition between its various providers, and is rated highly for its reasonably-priced ADSL. Unfortunately, the service isn’t available in some rural areas, with users having to get by with a satellite connection. Portugal, a latecomer to ADSL, has fewer users than most European countries but its quality infrastructure gives relatively fast speeds at a reasonable cost.

Spain offers a good selection of connectivity options at low prices, including ADSL and fibre optic, and the country promotes its no censorship policy. Internet services in Ireland began in a typically Irish manner with Barry Flanagan’s ‘Ireland on Line’ beamed from his house in County Galway. Since then, the internet plays a huge part in the Republic’s education facilites and economy. Speeds are getting still faster, with 100Mb fibre service at 55 euros a month.

Thailand’s internet service was rated, but digital nomads heading for the country should note the best, most reliable service is only available in Bangkok. All in all, it’s cheap, with plans starting from around $17 a month, but speeds are unreliable, undersea cables seem somewhat delicate and power cuts are the norm. Censorship and monitoring online content is also the norm nowadays, and a number of Western sites have been blocked.
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