Asia and Europe have always recorded very fast (and quite cheap) internet speeds, of the kind you’d be hard pressed to find in America.
While it’s understandable why places like Japan and South Korea, who feature some of the best infrastructures in the world, would benefit from solid internet speeds, some do raise some eyebrows when they hear that Eastern European countries, Romania specifically, are actually at the top of the list as well.
SpeedTest.net has recently studied internet speeds across the world, all from a gaming perspective and, surprisingly or not, they discovered that Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is the best city in the world for gamers, with download / upload speeds of 172 / 126 Mbps.
In translation, that means that it takes roughly around 17 minutes to download a 5GB HD movie in Bucharest.
What about pings, I can hear the gamers ask. Super low: 8ms, to be more exact.
Pings, for those of you who are not familiar with the term, are important: they represent the speed of the response you receive after you’ve sent out a request. The faster the ping, the better the connection and, in gaming, that is the difference between a win and a loss.
On the other hand, an U.S peak connection averages somewhere at 48.8 Mbps. In some rural areas, you can expect the speeds to drop at 7.3 Mbps or even lower. That places the U.S as the 17th in rank worldwide when it comes to internet speed.
So, you might ask yourself: how did this come to be?
The answer might lie in a few small details that, when put together, amount to the numbers we have on hand today.
For one thing, fewer people seem to be online in Romania – the International Telecommunications Union has recorded a 50% internet penetration rate in Romania. The U.S has a penetration rate of over 80% and, in addition to that, the Eastern European country is roughly the size of Wyoming. That alone makes it far easier for the companies over there to deliver higher internet speeds.
One other interesting bit is that Romania didn’t have large companies that could meet the demand for high speed internet during the time the country started to become more tech-savvy.
So small neighborhood networks started to emerge that covered areas of only a few blocks. They evolved into LANs and sold very inexpensive internet to the areas they operated within.
A case study from the International Telecommunication Union describes the neighborhood networks as “low-cost operations with small customer bases, typically deploying aerial fibre to connect homes in the neighbourhood. Often, aerial fibre is deployed in areas where duct-based network roll-out is mandatory. There are now discussions about forcing these operators to put their networks underground, which would have the benefit of removing the fibres from view in many urban areas.”
It goes on to explain that, to date, “operators have not been forced to put their networks underground on a large scale and Romanians therefore enjoy access to relatively cheap broadband infrastructure in many urban areas.”
It’s worth noting that Romania features dense, urban areas, as is the case with its capital city of Bucharest, where fiber optic cables can be hanged from literally anywhere.
This neighborhood-oriented initiative, which can be found in other Eastern European countries, albeit at a smaller scale, has greatly contributed to Romania’s fast internet speeds.
Now, Bucharest rests on a list of 35 cities around the world that are well-known for hosting e-sports events, gaming conferences and game companies, alongside Singapore, Shanghai, Las Vegas, Tokyo and others.
Bucharest has now become an important gaming hub and you’ll find that videogame producer companies like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Gameloft all feature large studios scattered across the city.
The Bucharest Gaming Week is also an important event that takes full advantage of these fast internet speeds. It has hosted the CS:GO Southeast Europe Championship as well as the FIFA National Tournament.
With internet speeds to envy and an increased attention to the gaming industry, Bucharest has the chance to raise itself up to one of the top gaming capitals of the world, if it so chooses. If it does decide to steer in that direction, that remains to be seen.
The fact remains that, if you want to game fast, the city of Bucharest should definitely be on your list of places to be.