Why Fast Internet Is Worth Re-Locating For (Do The Math)

It’s really good living life down here in South America. There are lots of cities with great people and great times. I am definitely in love with a number of places like Colombia and Brazil.

But I have now been through about 1/2 of the continent, as well as about 3/4 of the major cities, and let me tell you something:

Internet speeds are a problem for mobile internet entrepreneurs.

South America is definitely not up to par with the USA, Europe, and Southeast Asia on this front. In the vast majority of places, I’ve been staring at speeds of less than 1.5 Mbps download, less than 1 Mbps upload. And most of the time it’s a lot less than that.

The web pages eventually load, yes, and “fast internet” is a somewhat subjective term… But let’s look at this from a mathematical perspective:

Let’s say in your average South American city it takes an average web page 3 seconds to load on a normal 1.5 Mbps connection. (This is actually a very generous estimate based on my experience.)

And, let’s say you are an internet entrepreneur who loads 1000 pages a day. (It probably is more than this, again I am being generous.)

That means you spend 3000 seconds (50 minutes) of your day simply waiting for pages to load.

For serious internet entrepreneurs, who are going nuts online, this number will be even higher… somewhere in the 1-2 hour range.

This is all lost time.

Over a week’s time (6-7 day workweek for a committed entrepreneur), this amounts to 7-12 hours of your time that has just been spent waiting for pages to load!

Let’s say that instead, you move to a place with fast internet. Let’s say you get 10 Mbps down (which is rather fast, granted, but you can get this in many parts of the world, and it’s not that expensive).

That means instead of waiting 3 seconds for your average page to load, you are now waiting .5 seconds. Added up over 1000 webpages, and you’ve just saved yourself 40 out of those 50 minutes you were wasting.

You save even more time if you view more webpages per day, on average.

This translates into saving those 7-12 hours a week, and you get your time back.

In places like South Korea, Taiwan, or the Czech Republic you can get 40+ Mbps download, which is 4x faster than this example, for $50/mo or less.

How much is your time worth to you? … $25/ hour? $100/hour? $500/hour?… priceless?

Simply do the math.

You are saving yourself a tremendous amount of time with faster internet. And for many people, my estimates here were generously low.

That’s why fast internet speeds are worth it to re-locate for internet entrepreneurs. It’s also why this is a top consideration I’m taking into account for my travels in the upcoming year.

  • True cost of living has to be factored in to get an ROI. I realize your point is these hours are “priceless”, but everyone does have their price. If I can live in the Philippines for a fraction of the cost of the places you mentioned, I’ll make up for the lost time in internet speed. There are factors to consider and this is not a sexy answer (money never is) but I think it rings true.

    • True, I agree… but if you’ve got slower internet, you put a cap on how fast you can move certain things forward in your biz, especially if it’s web-intensive… I think I’ve just come to the point where I’m willing to swallow the $150 – $200 /mo expense to get the faster speeds.

      • But then you will miss out on all the fun of living in the third world! 😉

  • ozgression

    Do can look at a different web page (tab) or other program (such as Skype) while the page is loading. It doesn’t equal dead time.

    • Good point… There’s a bit of time and extra mental energy spent with multi-tasking via tabs, though. Plus, with really slow speeds you’ll still be waiting. I can’t operate Skype, Dropbox, and have 10 tabs open in many parts of South America.

  • Steve

    You can’t exclude a whole country because you couldn’t find a fast connection. I was just working in Bogota earlier this week and the speed test came in at about 7 Mbps (granted, that was at the office, and I didn’t test the speed at the hotel, although it wasn’t bad). Maybe you need to reconsider what city/neighborhood/work location you choose based on the kind of Internet connection you can get.

    • If you’re a more mobile type, then speeds across cities are important. If you find a good spot, all the more reason to hunker down! 🙂