Akamai Data: Internet, Broadband Still Going & Growing

The launch of super high-speed DOCSIS 3.0 cable broadband technology, the increased deployment of fiber and faster DSL lines resulted in a sharp increase in the average speed of broadband connections during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to data collected by Akamai for its “State of the Internet” report, expected to be released on Monday. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company that runs the world’s largest content delivery network compiles data pertaining to many different aspects of the Internet.

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According to Akamai data, the average global broadband speed in the last three months of 2008 was 1.5 Mbps, though South Korea had an average speed of 15 Mbps. The U.S. came in at No. 17 with an average speed of 3.9 Mbps, though I’m sure that’s going to change in coming years with the wide-scale adoption of DOCSIS 3.0-based broadband from Comcast and fiber offerings such as Verizon FiOS.

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Among U.S. states, Delaware ranked the highest with an average speed of 7.28 Mbps, while New York came in at No. 4 with 5.37 Mbps. California, with an average speed of 4.36 Mbps, took the No. 15 spot, while Alaska was the slowest state in the U.S., with 2 Mbps. The data collected by Akamai shows that thanks to Verizon FiOS and increased competition between the cable and phone companies, broadband speeds were faster on the East Coast of the U.S. than the rest of the country. Maine, Florida and Vermont showed high triple-digits gains in broadband connectivity during the fourth quarter 2008 over the same period the year before.

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One astounding part of the report was the continuing and relentless growth of the Internet and the number of devices that are connected to it, as demonstrated by the number of unique IP addresses seen by Akamai’s global network.

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At 400 million, that figure was up almost 6 percent from the third quarter 2008 and 28 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2007. Similar to the prior two quarters, nearly 30 percent of those IP addresses came from the U.S. and 10 percent came from China.

Among some of the interesting factoids from around the world was data showing that in India, the average speed was 772 Kbps, with just 0.6 percent of broadband connections faster than 5 Mbps. In China, too, only about 0.6 percent of broadband connections are faster than 5 Mbps; the average speed there was 833 Kbps. Sweden had the fastest broadband in Europe, with an average speed of 5.6 Mbps.

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