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Fastest internet in Central America

Which Country has the Fastest Internet in Central America?

Which country has the fastest internet in Central America? If you’re planning to live in the region as a digital nomad or remote worker, it’s an all-important question. Let’s take a look and see.

If there’s one prediction for 2022 you can rely on, it’s going to be about the continued rise of remote work and digital nomadism. The pandemic may be all but over, but the remote work legacy that exploded from it ain’t going anywhere. In Central America, Costa Rica and Panama both passed remote work visa laws last year (although Costa Rica’s still isn’t quite oven-ready), and we can expect to see more of the same around the region going forward.

For potential digital nomads and remote workers, internet speed is a critical issue. Slow/unstable internet is a potential dealbreaker for many people.

So I went to Ookla, the internet speed test guys, to check their monthly global index of mobile and fixed broadband speeds from around the world. It’s been a while since I’ve done this and I wanted to see how Central America’s performance compared to the rest of the world right now.

First, it’s important to say that compared to the rest of the world, Central America performs rather poorly.

The highest ranking country in Central America for fixed broadband speed is Panama, and that’s still at number 26 in the world (although up ten spots from 36th place a year ago). For mobile speeds, El Salvador ranks highest in the region, at 81st in the world.

(As an aside, this time last year, Guatemala was the highest for mobile speeds in Central America, in 76th place – mobile speeds have overall deteriorated in the region over the past year, although fixed broadband speeds have risen.)

All this is a far cry from nations like the UAE, Norway, and South Korea (top three fastest mobile speeds) and Singapore, Chile (wow!), and Thailand (top three fastest fixed broadband speeds).

For now, unless you’re prepared to spend some money, your internet speeds in Central America will be slower than many places.

But it’s not all bad. Internet speed has improved dramatically over the years in Central America, across the whole region.

So let’s see how each country in Central America performs for both mobile and fixed broadband internet speed. We created a handy chart below:

The above chart is pretty cool (if we say so ourselves) because you can click on the tabs at the bottom to delete and re-add to the table, to get a better idea of things. Go ahead and play with it. Knock yourself out.

The most interesting (although not surprising) thing that jumps out is that Panama had by far the fastest fixed broadband speed in the region last month, with a download speed of 94.64 mbps (upload speed of 12.43 mbps).

What is surprising is that Belize ranks well in the region for its fixed broadband upload speed. At 22.01 mbps, it’s by far the best in the region. According to Ookla, Belize’s internet has come on leaps and bounds. It’s not a million miles away from that of Costa Rica.

For mobile internet, El Salvador does best in Central America. If you’re online on your phone in Central America, you’re better off being in El Salvador. Honduras comes second in mobile speed in the region.

The worst countries in the region for mobile speed are Nicaragua and Costa Rica (although, in fairness, Ookla has no figures for Belize). For fixed broadband speed, it’s Guatemala and El Salvador who come off as the the slowest.

Here’s how it plays out country-by-country for December 2021:

Mobile internet speed fastest to slowest:

  1. El Salvador (81st in world)
  2. Honduras (88th in world)
  3. Guatemala (95th in world)
  4. Costa Rica (100th in world)
  5. Panama (104th in world)
  6. Nicaragua (106th in world)

*No figures available for Belize.

Fixed broadband speed fastest to slowest:

  1. Panama (26th in world)
  2. Costa Rica (60th in world)
  3. Belize (95th in world)
  4. Nicaragua (104th in world)
  5. Honduras (108th in world)
  6. El Salvador (112th in the world)
  7. Guatemala (119th in world)

We’ll keep updating this article to track internet speeds in Central America throughout the year.

It’ll be interesting to check the progress of the different countries and see if we have any drastic changes.

Let us know what your internet speed is like in Central America. We’d love to compile complete record of this in as close to real time as we can.

James Dyde is the editor of www.centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.

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