Global Peak Internet Speeds Up by 30 Percent in 2010

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According to the latest Akamai State of the Internet report, global broadband adoption and speeds continued to grow in the fourth quarter of 2010. Asia continues to dominate the list of the fastest countries, but the U.S. is also showing improvement.

Akamai reported that average broadband speeds in the U.S. were up by 9.2 percent in fourth quarter of 2010, on a year-over-year basis, hitting 5.1 Mbps.

“It was a good year for the U.S.” David Belson, Editor of the Akamai State of the Internet report, told “I can’t point to any one specific reason, but in 2010 we started seeing the economy recover, so maybe people had a little more money and they decided to spend it on Internet connectivity.”

On a global basis, average Internet connection speeds were up by 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter, for an average speed of 1.9 Mbps.

Akamai also measures peak connection speeds, which grew at an even greater pace. Globally, fourth quarter 2010 peak connection speeds grew by 31 percent to 8.8 Mbps. In the U.S., peak fourth quarter connection speeds were up by 34 percent to 20.3 Mbps.

Belson explained that for the average speed, Akamai takes the average speed of every request it receives from every IP. The average peak connection speed only takes the fastest measure, or the peak speed, from every IP.

For both average and peak speeds, countries in Asia lead the world in terms of connection speed. South Korea is ranked number one with a fourth quarter average connection speed of 13.7 Mbps. The U.S. in contrast is ranked number 14, at 5.1 Mbps. Belson noted that he expects Asian countries and cities to dominate the broadband speed lists into the foreseeable future. He noted that there are more cities in Asia as well as strong government initiatives in Asia that continue to promote broadband adoption.

From the U.S. perspective, Akamai reported that the state of Delaware was the fastest, coming in with an average connection speed of 7.2 Mbps for the fourth quarter, which was a 6 percent year-over-year decline.

The fastest city in the U.S. was Riverside, CA with an average connection speed of 7.6 Mbps.

Belson explained that over the last couple of years, Akamai has been improving its data set when it looks at the fastest cities in the U.S. He noted that the first time Akamai compiled the list, the the fastest cities were associated with college towns, which ended up skewing the data. Akamai now pulls out the university networks out of the data and also aims to look at cities with 50,000 or more unique IP addresses.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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