Which South Asian country has the best average internet bandwidth?

closeup of network hub and cables blue toned


The interactive graph depicts growth in average internet subscription bandwidth (y-axis) and the average number of subscriptions per person (x-axis) from 1986-2013.

The graph, developed by Scidev.net as part of an in-depth feature ‘The hidden digital divide’, explains that differences in subscription bandwidth and number of subscriptions per user in various regions arise due to income and infrastructural disparities.By the end of 2013 in Pakistan, there were an average of 0.74 subscriptions per person with an average subscription bandwidth of 371.66 kilobytes per second (kbps).

India shares the same number of average subscriptions per person, but displays a higher average subscription bandwidth of 477.78kbps.

Nepal and Bhutan have 0.75 and 0.78 subscriptions per person on average, but the highest average bandwidths in the South Asian region at 836.11kbps and 965.04kbps ─ which may be indicative of greater income disparity alongside better use of infrastructure as compared to either India or Pakistan.

While there is a minimal increase in both the number of subscriptions per person as well as internet speeds during the latter half of the 80’s and most of the 90’s, an exponential increase in both the number of subscriptions and bandwidth is observed in the mid-2000’s in the South Asian countries which have lower middle and lower class national income levels.

At this time, there appears to be a steep increase in internet speeds, followed by an outward movement of the graph representing an increase in the acquisition of subscriptions per person. By 2013, the graph rises steeply again after internet speeds increase even more.