State of the Internet Keeps Getting Faster

The Internet keeps getting faster, year after year.

The first quarter 2011 State of the Internet study from Akamai is reporting that global broadband speed are continuing to rise. For the first quarter Akamai reported that the average global broadband speed was 2.1 Mbps for a 23 percent year-over-year gain.

In terms of countries, South Korea once again took the top spot, this time with an average speed of 14.4 Mbps for a 20 percent year-over-year gain. Hong Kong came in second at 9.2 Mbps and Japan was third at 8.1 Mbps. The U.S. ranked 14th coming in at 5.3 Mbps which is a 14 percent year-over-year gain.

Akamai also provides a drill down of the fastest broadband cities in the world. Cities in Japan make up 22 of the top 25 fastest broadband cities in the world with Tokai Japan coming in first at 13.2 Mbps. The fastest cities in the U.S. is Riverside, California with an average of 7.8 Mbps coming in at 39 on the list. Staten Island, New York, and San Jose are ranked 40th and 42nd.

“The Japanese and South Korean cities have some really solid infrastructure and in many case the population density that makes it easier to capture a large number of users with higher speed connectivity,” David Belson editor of the State of the Internet report told

Belson noted that many countries are launching national broadband initiatives to help adoption. He added that there is still a lot of work to be done on a global basis to bring high speed connectivity to the masses.

The Akamai report also tracks narrowband or dial-up connectivity as well, which is now on the decline on a global basis. According to Akamai, only 3.3 percent of the global traffic they saw in the first quarter was at or below 256 kpbs for a decline of 36 percent on a year-over-year basis. The U.S. ranked 28th on the list for narrowband connectivity with only 2.0 percent of connections for a 25 percent year-over-year decline.

“We’d love to see and hope to see the changes to be negative growth for narrowband,” Belson said. “We hope to see all countries shed those types of connections.”

Moving forward, Belson does not expect to see a major leap in Internet speeds, but rather incremental gains quarter after quarter. He noted that broadband investment requires more investments from consumers that are willing to pay for services as well as the infrastructure services that support them.

“I think it will be a slow climb,” Belson said. “Once you start seeing greater broadband investment and adoption in China that could really help move the needle on a global weighted average basis.”

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

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