Russian-Bears-200Similar to Germany, faster than France. A few years ago, I was amazed to discover that Russia had some of the fastest Internet in Europe. Akamai's State of the Internet Report is based on a massive data set and showed excellent speeds in Russia. Most are served from fiber to the basement, inherently faster than most DSL, the main European connection. Russians generally live in apartment buildings and FTTB was the natural way to build the networks.

According to Akamai's report, the Q3 average connection speed in Russia was 11.6 Mbps, about midway between England's 9.7 Mbps and Germany's 13.7 Mbps. Russia is ahead of Germany in peak speed measures. (Unfortunately, the Akamai report has important methodological problems. The relative speeds do correspond to other data I've seen so I think they are in the right proportions.)

The market is intensely competitive despite only having three players in many areas. Prices were always low and fell further in dollar terms as the oil price dragged down the rural.

In most countries with only three players, the companies usually find a way to signal each other to all raise prices. Minister Nikolai Nikiforov is young, aggressive, and knows enough not to be fooled by company lobbying. It may be that he more effectively uses government power on behalf of consumers.

There's a myth floating around that deregulated networks normally serve customers better and governments always get in the way. Russia has a strong, almost authoritarian government but excellent Internet at an extraordinary price. China is even more dramatic. They have 270M wireline broadband connections compared to about 100M in the U.S. The gap is growing rapidly, as much as 8M lines in a recent quarter. In China, all three telcos are majority government owned and take orders from the Minister. A few years back, the Minister moved CEOs and other top executives between companies, apparently in an attempt to reduce corruption. (The Vice Chairman of China Unicom was facing a long prison term last I looked.) Vietnam and Egypt, neither democratic, are the fastest growing broadband networks 

Democracy is a good thing but the evidence is scant it's the most efficient way to rise out of poverty.  

The 31M figure and the $6 price are from Chris Dziadul of Broadband TV News, an excellent publication focusing on Eastern Europe. Point-Topic's subscriber figure is about 10% lower.

Latest issue

Jan 18

300,000 Indian Villages Fibered; 325,000 More To Come
Verizon, NTT, AT&T: ?$200-$400 5G Costs Much Lower Than Expected
Important: 5G Handles 10x More Data Than 4G
India Passes U.S. in Smartphones
AT&T Probably Will Not Have a 5G Mobile Phone in 2018
Pai, Speaking of Immigration, Put His Career on the Line
35b: Ready or Not? Germans Say Not, Some Say Yes
Qualcomm's Not To Be Believed Comeback in

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Manoj Sinha announced that 300,000 Indian villages have been connected by fiber and BharatNet is on target for 325,000 more early in 2019. This is by far the largest rural broadband project in history. Bids are out for 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots and 130.000 post offices will connect. The telcos are offered low prices to bring in LTE and fiber home. Programs are underway for > 100,000 local business to offer connectivity.  

Ajit Pai risked his career by challenging Trump's immigration policy. "My love and reverence for this country comes from living in the house of Raj and Radha Pai. My parents know a little something about the American Dream. They came to this country 46 years ago with literally no assets other than $10, a transistor radio, and a desire to achieve that dream." I never imagined America would plan to deport four million people. 

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