Blog Post

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).

11 Responses to “Across the planet, broadband is getting faster & faster”

  1. Juris Kaža

    Om, don’t forget Latvia, a small European country that is in the top ten of several of the Akamai broadband ratings.
    Written on my MacBook via WiFi connected to 100Mbps symmetrical fiber to the home from Lattelecom.

    Juris Kaža
    Latvian-American IT journalist
    Riga, Latvia

  2. Mitchell Tuckness

    I wish that was the case here. I live in Lovington NM and we only have one provider. Windstream. A 500 fortune company. We pay them $60 dollars a month for 3Mbps download and we get barely 53Kbps a night.

    What they report and what they provide are two TOTALLY different things. I wrote them a letter telling them that I couldn’t believe the lack of respect the company has for their customers. I remember when companies used to care about the quality of their service or goods, now, it’s just about having people pay.

    What can I do? I can’t get anyone else, they have a monopoly. I wish Google or Verizon or some large company would come and invest in small cities like this, it would be a God send, but they don’t, so we are stuck with shitty companies like Windstream that charge you outrageous prices and give you the speed you can get from a dial up modem.

  3. Prasant Naidu

    In India the avg speed is less than 512 Kbps. The brands are portraying we have achieved 3G speed but they are cheating. in fact they don’t have a 2G setup only :) Good to see such reports. thanks

  4. Michael Elling

    When I covered wireless and wireline in the 1990s, I referred to 3 segments in wireless as narrow, broad and wideband. Today, these might refer to high-kilo to low (10) meg, low to medium meg (10-100) and wide (100m-1gig), respectively.

    Akamai should use these speeds so that people aren’t fooled into believing that we have fast speeds; which are 20-150x slower than current technology due to remonopolization in the US and lack of competition globally.

    Then we see that wireless speeds from carriers will remain solidly in the narrowband world, while wired and 802.11 increases in the broadband segment and in select cases gets to wideband (Google, Gig.U, community broadband, etc…). This is important, because a disproportionate amount of the growth in consumption globally is still happening in wireless (hence narrowband).

    The nomenclature is also what links the lower layers to the application world in describing whether a specific application is mostly standard voice/text/low-res image (narrow), high-res image/short video clip or HD voice (broad), or HD video/data (wide). Synchronicity also plays an important role. In many instances the issue of upload speeds will determine how widely applications can scale and how much push/pull will occur a la the Wintel model of old.

    Finally, this nomenclature would have implications for investment in the upper layers vis a vis the lower layers and vice versa. In the process it would be define technologies and services in a lingua franca that could bring both sides together in terms of balanced settlement solutions. We desperately need better payment systems to stimulate investment in the lower layers; which is totally busted.

  5. Mark Jackson

    Funnily enough many of the people in Europe say exactly the opposite, pointing to the US being ahead :) .

    Then again, here in the UK “superfast” broadband (which our government measures as 25Mbps+) is now available to 60% of UK homes (up from 53% a year ago). But just 6.6% have actually subscribed to such a service. Ofcom’s statistics.

    Editor –

    • Mark

      Point topic says 10%. But the funny thing is that both UK and US are not good examples. I think other countries in Europe are doing better. Netherlands is a good example. Belgium, Czech Republic, Latvia – these are small countries and have been smart to upgrade in a big way. Of course it helps they don’t have massive regions to wire up.

  6. Emma Kille

    Very nice post! Thanks for sharing! For Mobile Device Management, The Mobile Worker, Enterprise Mobile Apps and Beyond,Mobility Management and the CIO, Mobile-to-Mobile search Enterprise Mobile Hub

  7. raparasu

    Getting faster it is, but in the US, only at snail’s pace! We’ve been tracking 50-100Mbps in Japan and Korea for years! Europe, even with its usually conservative stance has leaped ahead of the US, the % reporting hides this progress, but speeds in Europe are well over 15Mbps in most cases where customers are willing to pay, mostly with xDSL, which ATT cannot reliably offer 3Mbps with!

    Does it take ‘this’ long for broadband speeds to propagate from East to West?

    • Actually that is not so. US did pretty well over past 12 months and got its act together. However, the big problem is that we don’t have too much competition in the market and that is why things seem slower. It is the one and only true problem in the US: competition.

  8. keninca

    18 states had an average peak connection speed above 30 Mbps? I don’t believe it. Think of all of the people who use DSL, probably 90% of which never get above 10 Mbps. Add in that most cable plans above 15 Mbps cost an extra $30 or more per month, and people just don’t want to pay for it. And I don’t even believe that 31 states had average peak speeds above 20 Mbps.

    The only people I know with who get speeds above 10 Mbps are those who have FiOS or pay $99/mo for high speed cable.