Updated: State of the Internet: Globally, Broadband Continues to Grow


Updated with new maps from Akamai: Akamai (s akam), a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that has built a content delivery network that spans the globe, will soon be releasing the latest edition of its “State of The Internet” report, which looks at some of the key Internet developments, including growth in network speeds, actual connections and the number of web sites. I got an early look at the first-quarter 2009 report, from which I have cobbled together some interesting stats. globalspeeds.jpg

  • Akamai observed a nearly 5 percent increase (from the fourth quarter of 2008) globally in the number of unique IP addresses connecting to its network. The year-over-year change was 27.51 percent, while the U.S. saw a 20 percent jump in unique IPs. China saw a 37 percent year-over-year annual gain in unique IP addresses.
  • In the first quarter of 2009, one-fifth of the Internet connections around the world were at speeds greater than 5 Mbps, up 5 percent from the prior quarter and nearly 30 percent higher than the first quarter of 2008.
  • WiMAX is gaining traction around the planet. Many of us focus on Clearwire in the U.S. and often overlook the growth of WiMAX in emerging economies such as Eastern Europe, the Baltics and Africa.
  • Plans for four new submarine cables were announced that would bring more bandwidth to the African continent, which is also seeing a massive mobile phone boom, thus driving the need for more bandwidth. These cables include Glo-1 launched by Nigerian operators Globalcom.
  • Fiber networks to consumer homes and businesses are growing at a rapid speed in places such as Europe and Asia. In Latvia, for example Lattelecom Group, the national operator is planning to launch a FTTH network with access speeds of up to 500 Mbps by end of 2009 and eventually going to 10 Gbps.
  • globalspeeds3.gif
  • Akamai believes that it sees approximately 1 billion users per day, though we see only approximately 420 million unique IP addresses.
  • globalbroadband4.jpg
  • In the U.S., Delaware is the fastest state, with average speed of 7.2 Mbps. New York clocks in at 5.722 Mbps. California doesn’t merit a spot in the top 10.
  • globalspeeds6.gif
  • Utah and Iowa lead the high-speed sweepstakes in the U.S., thanks to projects such as Utopia.
  • globalspeeds5.jpgRelated: State of the Internet reports, Q1 2008 and Q4 2008 Report


    Marvin Ashe

    Does the fact that the US has many different providers all using different equipment matter in the scheme of this report? I mean that nothing that’s offered is regulated, not by county, stare or FCC. So when comparing different states or countries, shouldn’t that information be considered also? I know that there is over 200 phone companies in America and not one offers the same connection speeds as the other and not every area are all available. How does this effect the information and does it?


    I see this obvious fact from your tables and figures : Majority of the internet users even in superfast broadband countries could get speeds below 10Mbps.

    Esme Vos

    Let me add a point to my comment. Here in SF, I am getting broadband at 25-35 Mbps (symmetrical) for $45 per month, but only because I live in a high-rise apartment building. The ISP that provides this service does not serve single-family residences. As a result, even in this city, how fast your connection can be depends upon the kind of dwelling you have.

    Esme Vos

    Let me add a point to my comment. Here in SF, I am getting between broadband at 25-35 Mbps (symmetrical) for $45 per month, but only because I live in a high-rise apartment building. The ISP that provides this service does not serve single-family residences. As a result, even in this city, how fast your connection can be depends upon the kind of dwelling you have.

    Esme Vos

    I think it’s better to compare broadband speeds and prices according to city. What would it look like comparing the following cities: London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Singapore (city-state), Seoul – all of which are very large and densely populated, and affluent. Can you find 45 Mbps symmetrical service in NYC for under $60? This is a relevant question because in other cities such as Paris, you can. The price is probably even lower in Tokyo and Seoul.

    David Belson

    Thanks for the catch on the maps — we are uploading a corrected report to the Akamai Web site, and have updated the ZIP file of figures referenced within the press release.


    One thing that fails to get mentioned every time someone criticizes the US for having slow broadband speeds is the fact that many popular sites/services are physically located in the US. I’ve used 10+Mbs broadband services in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China) and they all felt as slow as molasses. Why? Because I was accessing sites like gmail, facebook, cnn, boston.com…. etc. It didn’t matter that the local link to the ISP was fast because all traffic was now gridlocked in a transpacific undersea cable. In the evenings (when everyone gets home) surfing would become intolerably slow, sometimes taking tens of seconds just to load a page. So until these sites are mirrored locally in each of these countries the speed of your domestic connection is really quite irrelevant (unless you’re accessing a local site, game, sharing files with your friend across town…).


    @ Timmy: I will venture a guess and say that you are American…

    The web habits of the average Chinese, Japanese or Swedish user is a lot different than yours. Just because the sites that you find most relevant are physically located in the US doesn’t necessarily mean that e.g. Chinese netizens spend there time on US sites. The fact remains that 70% of China’s intenet users (300+ million) never visited a site in English.

    I don’t think that the high bandwidth in South Korea and Japan is irrelevant because of the geographical distance to the US. Sure a lot of the most visited sites (globally) are American, but it is a different story when talking about the most popular sites per country.

    I lived in Asia for a while and definitely didn’t get the impression of a lightning fast internet, but I don’t agree with your point at all.

    (With the same logic, Koreans visiting the US must find the internet intolerably slow since must use the transpacific undersea cable AND the slow local internet connection…)

    And when comparing the US with where I live now (in Sweden), there is a clear difference. Especially since the bandwidth is symmetric here.

    Interesting Data

    It would be interesting to normalize this with some sq mile and population density data. Comparing the entire US (including all the “fly over” states) with Japan is not really a valid comparison. US vs Europe or US vs Japan+China may be better


    Om Malik

    Great point — maybe you want to help out with that. I would be happy to work with you and provide all the space you need to publicize the final results via our network of blogs.


    Apparently Akamai needs to go back to geography school. Last I knew #3 on the last map was Virginia, not West Virginia. :P

    Om Malik


    thanks for the catch. I have informed Akamai and they should be updating the information and the figures. I will update accordingly.

    Will, thanks for looking out.

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