State-By-State Internet Speeds: Who’s Fastest? Who’s Improving?

For anyone thinking about moving, or just looking for a little source of pride for your current home, it’s worth noting how all 50 states compare to one another in terms of Internet speed. But which states are getting faster is perhaps an even more important measure of the Internet quality in your area. Everywhere in the country, Internet speeds are increasing. According to Akamai’s “[State of the Internet]” report for Q2 2014, the average peak connection speed in the U.S. is now 45.3 Megabits per second (Mbps), a 30 percent Year-over-Year (YoY) increase. That kind of improvement is great news for Internet users all over the country, but speeds are increasing much faster in some states than in others. Kansas’ Internet speed is growing faster than any other state. Likely due in part to Google’s funding of a gigabit fiber network in Topeka, Kansans currently reap the largest improvement in peak connection speed, a 90 percent YoY increase. Kentucky came in last in terms of improvement and was the only state to post a single-digit speed increase, only 3.6 percent. Geographically, the winners on this list are spread all over, with the North, South, Midwest, and East Coast all represented in the top 10. Just don’t go out West if you want to see your speeds improve each year.
But don’t get too cocky, Jayhawks. You may be the biggest movers, but you still lag well behind in terms of average peak speed. The first state to join the union is also the first in peak Internet speeds, and with the exception of Washington, the top 10 states for speed are all on the East Coast. If you love streaming movies, Arkansas might not be the place for you.
As you might expect, there appears to be some degree of inverse correlation between the two lists, with many of the states near the bottom of one list near the top in the other. In other words, states with a slower peak speeds had more room to improve than states with higher speeds, and an increase from 30 to 40 Mbps is easier than an increase from 40 to 50 Mbps. But there are outliers. Delaware was tops for speed, and fifth for YoY increase, and Maryland is also in the top 10 for each list. Unofficially, then, those states seem to be the two big winners in terms of their future Internet outlook. Kentucky, last in speed increase and 48th in peak speed, and Maine, 50th in speed and 48th for YoY increase, show the most need for improvement. It’s great that no matter where you live in the U.S., peak Internet speeds are increasing. But even for all the improvement, we still have a long way to go to keep up with other nations when it comes to peak connection speed. Residents of every state should envy those in Hong Kong, with their world-best 73.9 Mbps. [zipfinder]

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Will Smith is a copywriter living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His favorite word is “petrichor,” and aside from wordplay, he loves reading history, watching Dodger baseball, and racing with the Sports Car Club of America.

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