When you’re away from home you want to stay connected. How else will you be able to let everyone know what you’re up to, update your Facebook status, play your favourite games online or share your photos on Instagram? Internet seems to be available everywhere these days. You can now even get it on the London Underground. You’ll want to be connecting to local WiFi when you’re travelling to avoid data roaming charges. However, there are some destinations you might want to avoid if you want a high speed connection and be able to make the most of being online:
Africa: Its internet capacity may be growing but it remains one of the slowest in the world when compared to other countries in the developing world. I remember being on holiday a few years ago in Cape Verde which is about 570 kilometres off the west coast of Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean. I stayed on the island of Sal and while there was internet, it was very unreliable, with the connection breaking down regularly; very frustrating when you’re trying to Skype your friends or family back home!
The Pacific: The islands, which include New Guinea, Mindanao and Shikoku, may be beautiful but last year (2015) reports said that an estimated 40 per cent of the population in the Pacific had yet to gain access to decent quality broadband. While work is being done to improve the quality and connection of broadband in the region, the cost of getting connected is expensive.
North Korea: You can forget about getting online in North Korea. Connection is only permitted with special authorisation and is only really used for government purposes. Since April 2016 North Korea has also blocked Facebook, You Tube and Twitter.
The Middle East: Internet is among the slowest in the world in many Middle East countries. Although you’ll find the internet in the United Arab Emirates faster than most Arab countries, its charges are higher. There is also censorship on some sites by countries such as Bahrain, Iran and Kuwait.
China: Internet censorship in China is among the strictest in the world. The government blocks sites that discuss subjects that could be political, some international news sources and what it feels are propaganda outlets, as well as many blogging websites. It also blocks access to websites such as Twitter, Facebook and You Tube.
South America: Venezuela, Bolivia, El Salvador and Paraguay were reported in 2015 to have the slowest internet connections in the Americas, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). While Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Mexico were said to be the countries in South America with the fastest connections, the average broadband speed for Latin America is only 7.3 Mbps (Megabits per second), which is well behind the 32.2 Mbps average for developed countries.
Air travel: Many high-end airlines offer paid or complimentary WiFi access with some of their flights but on most commercial planes there is no internet access so check with the airline’s website before you travel if you really can’t bear to be cut off from the digital world while flying.
Underwater: Probably the only place where you can get absolutely no internet - or so I thought. WiFi can work underwater but just won’t travel very far. Apparently, it can travel through water but only by five inches until it stops working.