The State of the Internet, Q1 2015

Every quarter, Akamai, an online provider of content delivery network services, releases its “State of the Internet” report. This report sheds light on how Internet speed in the U.S. compares to the rest of the world and how the states compare to one another. U.S. Getting Better Overall, Worse Compared to Others If you rank progress by overall speed, the U.S. ended the quarter with an average speed of 11.9 Mbps, up 7.4 percent Quarter-over-Quarter (QoQ) and 13 percent Year-over-Year (YoY). That’s a solid improvement, but other countries improved faster: that speed was only good enough for 19th place among all nations, while in the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. was in 16th place. We should applaud or progress, but ask how other nations are improving more rapidly, and whether we should do the same. And we’ve got a long way to go to catch South Korea, the world champion, which boasts a 23.6 Mbps average connection speed. In terms of average peak connection speed, the U.S. managed 53.3 Mbps, up 7.9 percent QoQ and 31 percent YoY. We finish the quarter in the same 22nd place we ended 2014, but we’re now ahead of Paraguay to earn the distinction of fastest average peak speed in the Americas. Singapore was best in the world in this category at 98.5 Mbps. Our results are fairly similar when it comes to broadband adoption. Though we’re way down at 43rd in the world for 4 Mbps adoption, we’re 17th for 10 Mbps adoption, and 18th for 15 Mbps adoption. Obviously, there are many more countries behind us than ahead of us. State Rankings For nearly every state, Akamai’s latest data is good news. Most states reached all-time peaks, 49 states are up YoY, and 48 are up QoQ. The only two that aren’t are Ohio and Washington. After coming in second at the end of 2014, Delaware squeaked into the top spot in state-by-state rankings with an average speed of 18.6 Mbps. Virginia, last quarter’s leader, fell to second place, at 18.5 Mbps. Sorting each state and Washington, D.C. by speed, and measuring in Kbps for precision, the results look like this: Delaware 18,572 Virginia 18,467 Washington, D.C. 17,278 Utah 15,654 Massachusetts 15,380 Rhode Island 15,351 Oregon 14,121 Wisconsin 13,988 North Dakota 13,969 Michigan 13,927 Connecticut 13,726 California 13,663 New Hampshire 13,540 New York 13,524 Maryland 13,353 Pennsylvania 13,250 New Jersey 13,091 Illinois 12,845 Iowa 12,845 Minnesota 12,699 South Dakota 12,556 Nevada 12,497 Florida 12,136 Texas 12,130 Nebraska 12,107 Vermont 11,858 Indiana 11,667 Colorado 11,557 Tennessee 11,524 Washington 11,309 North Carolina 11,194 Arizona 11,131 South Carolina 10,983 Wyoming 10,974 Kansas 10,800 Oklahoma 10,695 Missouri 10,577 Alabama 10,535 Maine 10,320 Montana 10,032 Louisiana 9,924 West Virginia 9,515 Mississippi 9,307 Idaho 9,172 Hawaii 9,129 New Mexico 8,727 Kentucky 8,611 Arkansas 8,576 Alaska 8,189 Georgia 5,568 Ohio 5,272 What Happened to Ohio and Washington? This one almost makes us wonder if Akamai made a mistake, but if so, it’s made the same mistake several quarters in a row. In Q2 2014, Ohio reached an all-time peak speed of 15.3 Mbps, but that figure has fallen every quarter since. Ohio is the only state to lose speed both QoQ and YoY. It’s now less than 5.3 Mbps—how did the state lose nearly two thirds of its speed in three quarters, and fall from a speed that would have placed it fourth overall to dead last? We’re not sure. Washington sped up QoQ, which is good news, but slowed down YoY. The Evergreen State peaked at 16.9 Mbps, in Q3 2014, and has since lost over 33 percent of that speed, falling to 11.3 Mbps. Again, what happened? The dip in performance isn’t encouraging, but with luck, this quarter’s reversal shows it was only temporary. Other Metrics by State Although Akamai only provides full state-by-state results for average connection speed, it does provide top 10 rankings for other metrics, including average peak speed. In that measure, Delaware again came out on top, this time at 85.6 Mbps. Washington, D.C., was second at 79.2 Mbps, and Virginia earned the last podium spot, just behind at 79.0 Mbps. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, Maryland, and California round out the top 10, in that order. Delaware is also best in the nation when measuring broadband adoption at 4, 10, and 15 Mbps tiers. In fact, the state only misses straight A’s on a technicality: D.C. grabbed the top spot for 25 Mbps adoption, but Delaware was first among actual states. Do Your Part If you’re not exactly proud of the results for the U.S. or your state, you can do something about it. All you need to do is ditch your old, slow plan for a faster plan, and finding the right one is as easy as entering your zip code below.

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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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