U.S. Ranks 16th for Internet Speed

Every quarter, cloud service provider Akamai releases its State of the Internet report, providing a global online security, access, and speed. The report provides a detailed state-by-state look at, well, the state of broadband speed and access in the U.S. In the fourth quarter of 2014, there’s some good news for U.S. Internet users, but it’s far from all good news. We Have a Need for Speed. Seriously. The report measures speed in two different ways: by average connection speed, and peak connection speed. Using the former metric, the world leader is South Korea, at 22.2 Mbps. The bronze and silver medals go to Hong Kong’s 16.8 Mbps and Japan’s 15.2 Mbps. Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Ireland, the Czech Republic, and Finland round out the top 10; the U.S. comes in 16th, at 11.1 Mbps, which is at least 15 percent faster year-over-year (YoY) compared to Q4 2013. Measured by average peak connection speed, Hong Kong leaps to the lead with 87.7 Mbps connectivity. Singapore is second at 84.0 Mbps, and South Korea comes in third at 75.4 Mbps. Japan, Romania, Taiwan, Uruguay, Qatar, Israel, and Latvia complete the top 10. The U.S.’s 49.4 Mbps is only good enough for 22nd in the world in this metric and a 16 percent YoY increase. High-Speed Adoption Unsurprisingly, many of the countries that rank near the top for total speed also rank near the top for high-speed penetration. In terms of population with access to 10 Mbps connections or faster, South Korea is tops, with 79 percent adoption. Hong Kong and Switzerland are next, with 60 percent and 56 percent adoption, respectively. Japan, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Latvia, Bulgaria and Denmark are fourth through tenth, in that order. The U.S. is 17th worldwide in broadband adoption, with 39 percent of us with 10 Mbps or more—up 20 percent YoY. The number of households above 4 Mbps, the old standard for broadband speed, is 74 percent—up a modest 1.7 percent YoY. The State of the States Virginia is for Internet lovers: it wins the race with a 17.7 Mbps average connection speed. A 33 percent jump in speed, to 16.4 Mbps, boosts Delaware into second, and Washington, D.C.—which the report counts as a state—and its 14.4 Mbps are third. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, and new York finish out spots four to ten. If we’re talking about average peak connection speeds, then the results change just a bit. Delaware’s huge 43 percent increase in speed leapfrogs Virginia to take the top spot with a 75.4 Mbps average peak. Virginia is close, with 73.5 Mbps, and D.C. maintains its third place with a 65.9 Mbps average peak speed. In fourth through tenth are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Utah, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Full state-by-state results show that Ohio and Washington were the only states to actually slow down from 2013 to 2014. Ohio’s average connection speed in that state dropped from 8.0 Mbps to 6.3 Mbps YoY, while Washington’s fell from 11.5 Mbps to 10.1. Are You Doing Your Part? If you’re a little disappointed the U.S. isn’t doing better compared to the rest of the world, you can do something about it. If your connection is slower than the U.S. average, you can help improve our ranking by signing up for a faster plan. Even if you’re already beating the national average, you’ll enjoy a faster plan enough to make the upgrade worth it. It’s okay if you’re only upgrading for yourself, and not the good of our national reputation—we won’t tell. [zipfinder] Photo Credit: Justgrimes/Flikr

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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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