Most of us in the U.S. love to rag on our ISPs and blame them for what we perceive as painfully slow Internet speeds. Our ISPs certainly do deserve their fair share of criticism, but we should also celebrate when things are headed in a positive direction. The latest report from Akamai is cause for celebration as it shows things are looking up in the ol' U.S. of A.
Akamai released its quarterly State of the Internet report today. The report covers Q1 2013, or the three month period beginning in April and ending in June. The big takeaway from the report is that average global Internet speeds are increasing with the worldwide average now at 3.1Mbps, or a 17 percent increase over last year.
Breaking the global Internet speeds down, we see that South Korea is still the global king of broadband with average connection speeds of 14.2Mbps. What's interesting about this, however, is that South Korea's average speed is down 10 percent from last year. It's the only country in the top 10 to see a decline. In fact, it's two closest Asian competitors - Japan and Hong Kong - came in second and third place respectively with average speeds of 11.7Mbps and 10.9Mbps. That's a year-over-year increase of 6.8 and 16 percent respectively.
So, where is the United States in all of this? We're in ninth place with average speeds of 8.6Mbps, or a whopping 27 percent year-over-year increase. It's also a 7.4 percent increase over last quarter's average speeds of 7.4Mbps.
Average speeds are important, but an increasingly important metric is the percentage of Internet users who have access to Internet speeds of 10Mbps or higher. The report found that South Korea is once again in first place with a whopping 50 percent of its population having access to speeds of 10Mbps or higher. The U.S. is showing positive signs in this area as well with 25 percent of its population having access to what Akamai calls "high broadband." Amazingly, that's a year-over-year increase of 69 percent.
Next, Akamai's report moves to the United States to look at which states have the highest average Internet speeds. Like always, New England has the fastest Internet with Vermont coming in first place with average speeds of 12.7Mbps, or a year-over-year increase of 40 percent. New Hampshire and Delaware come in second and third place with 12Mbps and 11.9Mbps respectively. The only state not on the East Coast/New England to make the top 10 is Utah coming in at fifth place with average speeds of 11Mbps.
As for states with the most high broadband, the top 10 list is dominated by New England/East Coast states. New Hampshire comes in first with 48 percent of its population having access to Internet speeds equal to or higher than 10Mbps. That's a year-over-year increase of 65 percent. New Jersey came in second with 45 percent, or an astounding 100 percent year-over-year increase.
One could argue that the average Internet speeds in the U.S. are going up thanks to an increasing number of cities that are rolling out gigabit Internet services. Akamai points out that gigabit Internet is now available in or coming to 13 cities across the U.S., including Kansas City, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Bristol, Seattle, Cedar Falls and others. It's unlikely that these cities had any real impact on this quarter's numbers, but it's a positive sign to see the number of gigabit cities increasing.
It's encouraging to see that the Internet is picking up pace around the world. There's still much work to be done, however, as Akamai notes many countries are still underserved by slow national ISPs that prevent the people in these countries from taking advantage of the numerous innovations brought about faster broadband.