Do you insist on consistently good quality and wide availability of in-room Wi-Fi at hotels? Then you better travel overseas, according to a new report from HotelWiFiTest, the website that tracks these things worldwide.
The U.S. ranks fairly high up on the list for the availability of free hotel Wi-Fi, but fairly low down for quality. The report notes that “quality” doesn’t mean super-fast Internet; rather, it means “the percentage of hotels that offer adequate WiFi quality in a given geographical area.” It defines “adequate” as download speeds of at least 3 Mbps — sufficient for SD-quality video streaming — and uploads at 500 kbps.
“For most travelers, having super-fast and consistently stable WiFi is a great bonus, but their first priority is ensuring that basic quality expectations for Internet access are met,” the company noted.
Worldwide, Asia offers the best Wi-Fi quality, the report notes, available at 50 percent of the region’s hotels. Europe is second at 46 percent, and the U.S. is third at 35 percent. On a country-by-country basis, 92 percent of South Korea’s hotels offer quality Wi-Fi, followed by Japan (84.9 percent), the Ukraine (!) at 82.1 percent, Switzerland at 79.8 percent and Romania at 78 percent. Ranking just below those countries, in order, are Hong Kong, Sweden, Norway, Taiwan, Hungary and Russia. The U.S. comes in at 40th place worldwide (35.9 percent), just above Malaysia, Turkey, Spain and France.
According to HotelWiFiTest, that means 79 percent of the world’s countries have better quality hotel Wi-Fi than the U.S.
The report found that the opposite trend holds true for availability of free in-room Wi-Fi, however, with that amenity provided at 85.4 percent of U.S. hotels — about the same as Ukraine, Taiwan and Turkey, but still behind Norway (92.4 percent), Sweden (91 percent) and Russia (90.1 percent). (That U.S. figure should increase since major chains like Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood recently decided to make basic free Wi-Fi available across all their brands.)
HotelWiFiTest’s report also looked at individual cities. In the 20 U.S. cities covered, Portland was number one in the Wi-Fi quality rankings (available at 66.7 percent of its hotels), 10 points ahead of second-place Seattle. Following in order behind Seattle are Albuquerque, Orlando and Chicago. Los Angeles ranked 7th (46.3 percent), New York 8th (44.5 percent) and San Francisco 10th (42.7 percent). Of the 20 U.S. cities rated, Atlanta came in at the bottom, with quality Wi-Fi at just 22.5 percent of its hotels.
Related: Ranking inflight wi-fi by airline
U.S. cities with the highest percentage of free Wi-Fi hotels are Portland, Albuquerque, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Denver, all above 80 percent. Ranking 20th out of 20 for free Wi-Fi was Boston at 56.6 percent, just below Washington D.C. (58 percent).
Overseas destinations outdo all of the U.S. cities in terms of Wi-Fi quality, the report concluded. Of the 50 cities worldwide covered in the report, the one with the best availability of quality Wi-Fi is Stockholm (at 88.9 percent of its hotels), followed by Budapest (84.4 percent), Tokyo (81.9 percent), Dublin (77.5 percent) and Montreal (69 percent). Atlanta ranked 49th on the list of 50, exceeding only Albufeira, Portgual.
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