Akamai Ranks Fastest Cities in the US


usinternet.gifLed by Berkeley, California, at the end of 2009, college towns are among the fastest cities in the US, according to Akamai’s latest The State of the Internet report. In order to qualify, Akamai put a filter of a minimum of 50,000 unique IP addresses. Chapel Hill (North Carolina), Stanford (California), Durham (North Carolina) and Ithaca (New York) made up the top five cities in the US.

US might not rank top in most broadband categories, but it was interesting to note that Berkeley, Chapel Hill and Stanford are the top three fastest cities in the world, followed by Masan (South Korea) and Oxford (Great Britain.) San Francisco and other Bay Area cities are no where to be found on the top 100 cities list, and neither is New York. US towns/cities that play host to colleges and universities are well represented in the global top 100 cities list — once again showing the importance of educational institutions and networks to the overall evolution of the Internet.


When Akamai source data based on the number of unique IP addresses seen by Akamai, New York City was the fastest city with average speed of 5.139 Mbps, followed by San Diego, Oakland, Las Vegas and Baltimore. San Francisco didn’t make the top ten. Delaware is the fastest state in the Union — 7.6 Mbps, a jump of 5.2 percent from the third quarter. The increase in the number of mobile connections also brought down the average Internet connection speeds. Overall, 31 states saw average connection speeds increase in the fourth quarter – up from 25 the prior quarter. Notable gains included South Dakota’s 18 percent jump to 4.5 Mbps.


The FiOS Effect.

It is interesting to see how much of a positive impact Verizon’s FiOS has had on the broadband situation. A break down of top ten states shows that whenever available, more and more people are opting for higher broadband speeds. The presence of fiber-based FiOS has pushed rival cable companies to upgrade their networks and offer higher tier services. You can see that reflected in the speed breakdown as shown by this chart.




Those of us familiar with some of the towns highly ranked speculate that this data is highly skewed by the presence of Akamai servers on so many college campuses. If they are measuring speed between IP addresses and Akamai services, the availability of thousands of IP addresses on LANs where there are Akamai servers would be highly significant. In that case, the data would not suggest that college towns have high-speed services to households, but that colleges have high-speed local networks with lots of users directly connected to Akamai servers.

Om Malik


Check the comment about Internet2. Secondly, they have taken into account that each town has to have a minimum of 50,000 unique IP addresses to qualify.

Secondly, Akamai doesn’t pretend to even say that this data is not from the connections to their network. GIven the sheer size of their network, I think they have a fairly good clue as to what is happening on the web.


Ever hear of Internet 2 ???

Yeah it runs thru these cities at 100Gbps ! Totally blows away the regular internet and it does have a high speed gateway into the regular internet backbone.

I think a couple hundred Universities have been hooked up to this for many many years.

Om Malik

Yup, Yup and Yup. I guess that is why these cities are really fast and that is why I said that the importance of “educational” networks to the overall evolution of the internet.

Kevin C. Tofel

Interesting — 8 of the top 10 states are clearly in Verizon’s home turf. That’s where I live as well and have enjoyed their 20 Mbps down and up service for nearly a year.

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