U.S. 10th in Average Internet Speed Rankings, S. Korea Still No. 1

4/23/14Follow @curtwoodward

Internet connection speeds generally improved in the U.S. last year, and the country’s broadband capacity should keep getting better with new ultrafast initiatives being rolled out by network operators and local governments alike.

But the average U.S. connection speed is still just 10th worldwide, and greatly lags global leader South Korea—which is creeping closer to universal broadband connectivity within its own borders, according to the latest State of the Internet report from online traffic routing company Akamai.

The overall trend for global and domestic Internet connection speeds was positive, Akamai said. The Cambridge, MA-based company’s report, which covers the fourth quarter of 2013, is based on data gleaned from its “Intelligent Platform,” a huge network of servers designed to deliver online traffic from a point that is as close to the user as possible. The system serves about 2 trillion requests for Web content daily.

South Korea’s Internet penetration continues to be the envy of the world, with average connection speeds of nearly 22 megabits per second. The country also has near-universal broadband adoption, with 94 percent of its connections rated at 4 Mbps or higher.

Japan, the No. 2 country in Akamai’s fourth-quarter report, was at nearly 13 Mbps, while the U.S. clocked in at 10 Mbps.

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South Korea’s average speeds also saw the highest year-over-year growth among the top 10 countries, increasing 57 percent since the end of 2012. Ninth-ranked Ireland actually grew faster, with a 59 percent annual increase in average speeds, while the U.S. grew a decent 25 percent.

Akamai calculated the global average connection speed at 3.8 Mbps, an annual growth of 27 percent. (Here’s a detailed note about the company’s methods for calculating speed figures.)

There are have-nots, too. Six countries measured by Akamai had average connection speeds of 1 Mbps or less, including Cameroon, Yemen, and Libya. Lesotho, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates all saw their average connection speeds drop by more than 20 percent year over year.

Within the U.S., the East Coast remained by far the leader among states for average connection speed. Washington was the only non-East Coast state in the top 10 for average speed, tied with New York at 11.5 Mbps. Virginia was the leader with an average speed of 14.4 Mbps, a yearly increase of 53 percent.

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Overall, speeds in the U.S. are increasing. Vermont was the only state to see its average speed decline year over year, while New Hampshire was the only state with annual growth that clocked in at less than 10 percent.

Akamai also called out several broadband projects in various U.S. locations as a positive sign of improving Internet connections in the country—AT&T’s gigabit fiber-optic network project in Austin, TX; CenturyLink’s gigabit expansion in Las Vegas; and a municipal fiber network approved by voters in Longmont, CO.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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  • Guest

    According to netindex ranking by akamai may I ask where did you got that list?

  • K Colby

    Pretty sure this is BS. Why do others say we’re in the 30′s?

    • audieho

      Because, if you had actually read the report, you would understand there are two different metrics. One is for average connection speed, which is shown in the table accompanying the article. The other metric is for average peak connection speed, which, according to the report has us in the low 40s. For an understanding of the difference between the two, https://blogs.akamai.com/2013/04/clarifying-state-of-the-internet-report-metrics.html

  • plenty

    Sad US is ranked so low. Americans should demand better. Wind stream is one of the worst.