Speed test puts Nepal in 118th spot globally in fixed broadband in AprilThe average mobile broadband speed showed an improvement with the country moving up five places.
Fixed broadband speed in Nepal declined over the past month even as the country was on lockdown, according to Ookla, a US-based firm that analyses internet connection speeds.
A global index report published by Ookla ranked Nepal in the 118th position with an average fixed broadband speed of 17.97 mbps in April. Nepal fell eight places in the world rankings from the previous month.
Nepal's download speed was clocked at 17.97 mbps against the global average of 74.74 mbps. The upload speed was recorded at 17.34 mbps compared to the global average of 39.62 mbps.
In March, Nepal was in the 110th spot with a fixed download speed of 20.81 mbps and an upload speed of 19.59 mbps.
The average mobile broadband speed showed an improvement with the country moving up five places from 116th in March to 111th last month.
The download speed clocked at 14.35 mbps in April compared to 14.22 mbps in March. The global average download speed is 30.89 mbps.
Nepal's mobile upload speed was recorded at 8.01 mbps, down from 8.48 mbps in March. The global average is 10.45 mbps.
Among South Asian countries, Nepal topped India (132nd), Pakistan (112nd), Bangladesh (130th), Afghanistan (139th) and Sri Lanka (115th) in mobile broadband in April. Maldives came first in the region, taking the 66th spot.
In fixed broadband, Nepal trailed India (71st), Bangladesh (96th) and Sri Lanka (102nd), and came ahead of Bhutan, (128th), Afghanistan (162nd), Maldives (126th) and Pakistan (157th).
Ookla has also been closely monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the performance and quality of global mobile and broadband internet according to which Nepal’s fixed broadband speed decreased by 15 percent against the global fixed speed change of minus 1 percent while mobile speed increased by 2 percent with a given global mobile speed change of minus 1 percent.
Internet utilisation has increased by 30-40 percent with the entire population grounded, and the increased network traffic means slower connections.
Min Prasad Aryal, director of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, said local traffic demand jumped by 50 percent while international traffic demand rose by 25 percent.
Demand in the entertainment segment such as games, movies and YouTube has increased with people confined to their homes amid more stringent lockdown restrictions.
Internet use has also increased with more e-learning, e-webinars and meetings as people have been working from home due to the virus lockdown.
Aryal said network traffic was expected to swell as the lockdown has been extended.
Internet service providers need to create a business strategy to minimise network congestion by setting priorities according to the National Emergency Telecommunication Plan, he said. International bandwidth also needs to be increased, Aryal added.
Bhoj Raj Bhatta, president of the Internet Service Providers’ Association Nepal, said strain on the existing capacity could be slowing down the internet. Maintenance personnel are prevented from carrying out physical repair work due to the lockdown which has hit efficiency, he said.
International bandwidth has been increased by 25 percent, so the quality has improved compared to the early days of the lockdown, Bhatta added.
Internet service providers have not been able to fulfil demand as communication equipment needed to upgrade the network are stuck in different countries due to the virus shutdown, he said.
“Optical fibre is in short supply, and we have not been able to fulfil current requirements,” he said. Bhatta said that there was also high demand for new connections.
"The figures are not totally authentic technically as there is a difference in local and global systems in terms of speed," he said. "Slight changes in the numbers do not have a big impact on the service experience."