High-Speed Broadband Adoption, Speeds Decline

A strange thing happened at the end of 2011, the global Internet actually got slower.

According to the fourth quarter 2011, State of the Internet report from Akamai, the global average connection speed to the Internet dropped to 2.3 megabits per second (Mbps), representing a 14 percent decline from the third quarter of 2011. While the average connection speed declined, the global average peak connection speed was relatively flat, coming in at 11.7 Mbps for a 0.4 percent quarterly gain.

“For the average peak connection speed, we are only analyzing the fastest connections seen,” Akamai report author David Belson, told Enterprise Networking Planet. “For the average connection speed, we are analyzing and averaging all connections seen. As such, the speed of the fastest connections could remain roughly flat, while nominal speed declines were seen across the balance of the connections.”

The decline in average is partially due to a quarterly decline in global high broadband adoption which fell 4.6 percent to 27 percent in the fourth quarter. High broadband by Akamai is defined as connection speeds over five Mbps.

South Korea is fastest

While the quarterly numbers aren’t positive, the overall yearly trends paint a different picture. High broadband adoption increased by 17 percent on a year-over-year (YoY) basis, while the average connection speed globally grew by 19 percent YoY.

The fastest county in the world based on the average connection speed, was South Korea coming in at 17.5 Mbps, in contrast the US ranked 13 at 5.8 Mbps. In terms of the fastest cities in the world, Taegu, South Korea ranked first at 21.8 Mbps. In general, Akamai found that cities in the Asia Pacific region held 69 of the top 100 spots on the list of fastest cities in the world. Japan tops the list with 61, while there are 22 from the US.

The fastest city in the US is Boston at 8.4 Mbps; fractionally ahead of North Bergen, NJ for average connection speed. Jersey City, NJ came in third at 8.3 Mbps, Monterey Park, CA fourth at 8.2 Mbps and Clifton, NJ fifth at 8.0 Mbps.

IPv6 growing

Akamai is now also seeing some growth in IPv6 traffic, though it’s still not a significant factor.

“We expect the volume of IPv6 traffic to increase as more customers adopt the service from Akamai, and more importantly, as more end users gain IPv6 connectivity,” Belson said. “I think that IPv6 adoption levels have not grown as much over the last four years as we had expected they would at the start of the period. However, I think that there are some more tipping points approaching that will cause adoption to grow significantly going forward.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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