Across the planet, broadband is getting faster & faster


When it comes to the Internet, the need for speed has never been higher, thanks to a growing global reliance on connected platforms, services and devices. That need is aptly reflected in the data collected by Akamai for the latest edition of its State of the Internet Report, which is expected to be released later this week.

You can see an across-the-board jump in average peak connection speeds and average connection speeds. Even countries that have been broadband laggards — such as India — are starting to pick up their pace.

For the first three months of 2012, Akamai observed the following trends:

  • 6.0 percent increase globally from the fourth quarter of 2011 in the number of unique IP addresses connecting to Akamai, growing to over 666 million.
  • The global average connection speed was 2.6 Mbps
  • The global average peak connection speed increased to 13.5 Mbps.
  • South Korea had the highest average connection speed at 15.7 Mbps, while Hong Kong had the highest average peak connection speed, at 49.3 Mbps.
  • In the first quarter of 2012, average connection speeds on known mobile providers ranged from 6.0 Mbps down to 322 kbps.
  • Average mobile peak connection speeds during the quarter ranged from 32.2 Mbps down to 2.2 Mbps.
  • Mobile data traffic almost doubled from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 and was up 19 percent quarter-over-quarter.
  • In the first quarter, Hong Kong took the top spot for average peak connection speed (49.3 Mbps), dropping South Korea (47.8) to second place. The remaining top 5 included Japan (39.5 Mbps), Romania (38.8 Mbps) and Latvia (33.5 Mbps).

With increasing speeds across the world, Akamai has redefined what it deems broadband and what it calls high-broadband. Broadband had been defined as connections that connect to Akamai’s network at speeds of 2 Mbps or greater for the last four years. Starting with this latest edition, they are going to raise the minimum threshold to 4 Mbps.

The new definition is more in sync with the broadband definition used by the United States National Broadband Plan and also matches up with the target speeds in the European Union and China. High broadband will now be for connections that connect to Akamai’s network at speeds of 10 Mbps or higher. From the report:

  • Globally, high broadband (10 Mbps or higher) adoption increased 19 percent to 10 percent in the first quarter, and South Korea had the highest level of high broadband adoption, at 53 percent.
  •  Global broadband (4 Mbps or higher) adoption grew 10 percent to 40 percent, with South Korea having the highest level of broadband adoption, at 86 percent.
  • Nine of the top 10 countries saw high broadband adoption levels increase quarter-over-quarter, ranging from a 7.6 percent increase in Hong Kong (to 28 percent) to a surprisingly large 63 percent jump in Denmark (to 15 percent). Overall, 42 qualifying countries saw quarterly growth in high broadband adoption, from a massive 149 percent increase in South Africa (to 0.7 percent) to a 3.4 percent increase in Ireland (to 10 percent).
  • Nearly 60 percent of US connections are above 4 Mbps while 15 percent of US connections are about 10 Mbps.

United States Broadband by the numbers:

  • 18 US states had average peak connection speeds above 30 Mbps in the first quarter, while 31 states had average peak connection speeds above 20 Mbps.
  • 19 total states saw high broadband adoption increase between 100 percent and 200 percent year-over-year.

Asia Pacific by the numbers:

  • South Korea and Hong Kong as the only countries regionally, and in the world, with average peak connection speeds above 40 Mbps.
  • Within the Asia Pacific region, high broadband adoption rates ranged from  53 percent in South Korea to just 0.1 percent in China.
  • India had the largest increase, at 21 percent, improving its average peak connection speed to 6.9 Mbps but it is also the country with the lowest average connection speed in the region, at 1 Mbps.

Europe (EMEA) by the numbers:

  • Netherlands tops the rankings with 8.8 Mbps in average connection speed, while Romania ranked at the top of the average peak connection speed charts with 38.8 Mbps. Netherlands had a average peak connection speed of 29.4 percent.
  • The Netherlands had the highest level of broadband adoption in the EMEA region
  • Europe saw a yearly growth of average peak connection speed of between 13 percent in Portugal (28.2 Mbps)  to the 58 percent  in Poland (22.0 Mbps).