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Australia ranks 50th in the world for broadband speeds, lagging behind neighbour New Zealand.
In its 'State of the Internet' study of broadband speeds around the world, content distribution service Akamai gave Australia a global rank of 50 for its average connection speed of 2,613kbps, while New Zealand charted at 42 with 2,912kbps.

Australia falls behind its Asian neighbours for broadband connections, as South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan topped the list in the first three positions.

Broadband users in South Korea enjoy an average speed of 12,021kbps, up to a maximum of 32,708kbps.

In Australia, cable broadband customers can access super-fast speeds of up to 30,000kbps, while ADSL2+ broadband customers can enjoy speeds of up to 24,000kbps, depending on their distance to the local telephone exchange.

But many Australians are still languishing on dial-up or are unable to subscribe to any internet service at all, and this is the issue that the National Broadband Network (NBN) will seek to address.

Under the NBN, the government hopes to connect 93 per cent of Australians to a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, providing super-fast broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, while the rest of the population will be served by improved mobile broadband and satellite services.

However, there is doubt as to the future of the NBN following the election, as the Liberals have refused to commit to Labour's project on the basis that there may be a more cost-effective way of improving Australia's broadband network.