Study on trends in Internet access in Portugal

ANACOM has conducted a study on trends in broadband Internet access in Portugal (including fixed access and mobile access to the Internet using cards), measured based on upload and download speeds and latency. In this context, tests were carried out according to destination server and at different geographical levels (municipalities, groups of municipalities and districts).

To carry out this study, data was obtained from Ookla on the results of tests performed by Portugal IP addresses from mid-2006 (date of first Portugal IP address testing) to the end of 2014; this data covers 29.2 million tests performed on residential and business accesses, fixed accesses and mobile accesses with cards.

According to the results of the analysis, it was found that:

a) According to testing based on servers located in Portugal, from mid-2007 (date from which data for servers located in Portugal was first available) and the end of 2014:

  • The average download speed obtained has increased sevenfold on residential fixed accesses and thirteenfold on mobile accesses using cards;
  • The average upload speed obtained increased fourteen times on residential fixed accesses and twenty-five times on mobile card accesses;
  • Average latency decreased by about a third on both residential fixed accesses and on mobile card accesses;
  • The improvement in the values reported for these parameters is found across all the analysed districts and in the Autonomous Regions of Portugal for fixed and mobile accesses; in the case of residential fixed accesses, improvements were more significant in the most populated regions (over 100,000 inhabitants);
  • In regional terms, the tests point to greater info-inclusion in areas of the country's interior and with low population density, given that, over the period of testing, tests have started to appear in these areas and the number of tests performed has increased;

b) In terms of testing based on servers located abroad, comparing the years 2008, 2011 and 2014, an improvement is reported in the values recorded for the measured parameters from the Speedtest website.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the data is based on a self selected (not random) sample, and the results may include biases and cannot be guaranteed as representative. According to the results of a survey conducted by Marktest, between August and October 2014 in Portugal, only a quarter of respondents with Internet access had ever used a Internet access measurement tool, and about 40% of respondents who used these services did so because they experienced connection problems, while 39% did so to confirm the contracted speed of a new offer and 24% out of curiosity about their contracted speed.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that, since the end of 2013, ANACOM has made the NET.mede service available to Internet users, allowing them to test fixed access and mobile accesses, and also to detect traffic shaping.