Portugal has quality broadband Internet

The quality of broadband Internet access in Portugal, whether fixed and mobile, is generally good, according to a recent study conducted by ANACOM - Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações.

According to the study conducted by the regulator, with respect to the download of files, speeds over fixed accesses where higher than those reported on mobile accesses - results which are unsurprising considering that the corresponding commercial products offer higher speeds. In the case of international destinations, the differences in speeds between fixed and mobile operators are less marked, especially in the case of sessions with destination in the United States.

The contrary is true when it comes to uploads, with mobile Internet access technologies reported as providing higher speeds than those available with fixed broadband operators.

ANACOM also looked at peer-to-peer applications, which enable two or more users to exchange information and data without needing a central server. In this case, tests were only conducted for fixed broadband accesses.

In terms of perceived quality of Web Browsing, which is generally associated with the time needed to connect to and download a webpage, fixed accesses provide lower average download times than mobile technology.

The main differentiating factor between fixed and mobile technologies, in terms of results, is manifested above all in network latency, in the delay in IP packet transmission, which has a very significant effect on interactive applications such as VoIP and online gaming. 

In fact, in this respect, mobile accesses have much higher values for all destinations, but these are closer to those of fixed accesses in tests when it comes to servers based in the United States and United Kingdom. Even so, the values reported in the worst case do not impede the use of VoIP applications.

Focusing on mobile Internet accesses, in terms of network availability, values were reported in excess of 99% for all operators in the three municipalities analysed (Lisbon, Porto and Faro).

In terms of page loading time (Web Browsing), good results were obtained for national servers of around two seconds. For servers located abroad, in particular in the United States, results are not so good, around three seconds, but remain acceptable.

In terms of latency, the values reported for the three operators were within the range of values expected for the technology.

Fixed broadband

In the case of fixed broadband access, use is made of the Relative Speed Index (RSI), a standardised index which measures the relationship and compares results between actual speed achieved and the maximum speed announced by the operator.

Analysing FTP download speeds for national servers, the results are good. The Portuguese have an average 65% of the maximum contracted speed.

In fixed broadband access, the latency values reported for connections to national severs are excellent. In connections to abroad, the values are close to those reported for mobile technology. In the case of VoIP, the delay (moth-ear) may not exceed 150 milliseconds. As a rule, this delay does not exceed 70 milliseconds. In the case of national communications and communications with the United Kingdom, a good level of quality is reported.

The study was prepared and developed by ANACOM in partnership with QMETRICS and ERICSSON PORTUGAL, with support given by FCCN - Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (Foundation for National Scientific Computing). The study compared the fixed offers (cable and ADSL) and sought to represent the territory of mainland Portugal, with a panel constituted of 259 randomly selected users (52 of Cabovisão, 51 ZON, 52 Clix, 51 Sapo and 53 Vodafone). The measurements for the study were conducted between 5 December 2009 and 17 March 2010 for fixed accesses, and between 27 November 2009 and 7 February 2010 for mobile accesses. In the case of mobile accesses, indoor and outdoor tests were performed in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon, Porto and Faro, with a sample of around 60 sites located in each municipality. The mobile operators considered in the study operate use UMTS technology and represent over 90% of the market.