The quality of broadband in the US is lower than that in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Latvia, according to a report commissioned by Cisco.
Carried out by the Said Business School and the University of Oviedo, the survey found that Sweden had the highest quality connections. In terms of broadband leadership - a score created by weighting factors including quality and penetration - South Korea leads, followed by Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden and Switzerland. The US comes 15th.
Overall, average broadband quality increased across the globe in the last year, with global average download throughput rising 49 percent to 4.75Mbps. Global average upload throughput increased by 69 percent to 1.3Mbps. Global average latency decreased by 21 percent to 170ms.
Nine countries - South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia, The Netherlands, Denmark and Romania - were found to have the broadband quality required for future web applications, such as high definition internet TV viewing and high-quality video communications.
But in many countries, there is a huge difference between the quality enjoyed in the cities, and that found in rural regions.
"The challenge for countries now is to bridge this quality divide," said Professor María Rosalía Vicente of the University of Oviedo. "This quality divide could indicate how future divides in wealth may take shape, as broadband is increasingly determining the ability of individuals, firms and nations to create future prosperity.”