U.S. broadband speeds lag behind global counterparts

Akamai report sees rise in overall Internet speeds and users -- as well as attack traffic around the world

South Korea and Japan collectively boast the top 45 of the 100 cities with fastest average broadband connections worldwide, while the United States has just 13 cities on the list, most in the bottom 20 percent. These are the findings in Akamai's recently released quarterly "The State of the Internet" report [PDF], which provides Internet statistics on areas such as broadband adoption, mobile connectivity, and attack traffic.

Akamai state of the internet - speeds by country

According to Akamai, the 11 cities with the fastest average broadband speeds are all in South Korea; Taegu occupies the top spot with 18.3Mbps on average, down to Kimchon at the No. 11 slot with 13.9Mbps on average. Kanagawa, Japan appears at No. 12 at 13.3Mbps. From there, it's all Japanese and South Korean cities and regions until the 46th slot, when Hong Kong shows up with an average speed of 8.9Mbps. A handful of Romanian, French, German, Dutch, and Norwegian cities appear on the top 100 list, above all but one American city: San Jose, Calif.

In terms of overall average broadband speeds by country, the United States lags behind eight others. South Koreans enjoy average connection rates of 14Mbps; the people of Hong Kong enjoy 9.2Mbps on average; Japan's average speed is 8.5Mbps; Romania's is 7.0Mbps; and the broadband providers in the Netherlands deliver average speeds of 6.3Mbps. The United States is tied for ninth place with such countries as Taiwan and Denmark with an average speed of 5.0Mbps. That's well above the global average of 1.9Mbps.

The good news for Americans is that that national average Internet speed has increased by 11 percent over the past year, according to Akamai; notably, funding for broadband expansion was part of President Obama's stimulus package. However, the country of Latvia saw a 27 percent increase in that same time period and now enjoys average speeds of 6.0Mbps. In that same period, Hong Kong's speed swelled by 19 percent, Netherlands is up 14 percent, and Romania is up 12 percent. Globally, the average connection speed has improved by 14 percent over the past year.

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Fastest U.S. downloads in Delaware Within the United States, Delaware is the state with the speediest average connections at 7.1Mbps. Utah and Washington, D.C. are tied at 6.4Mbps; Rhode Island averages 6.3Mbps; Vermont sees 6.2Mbps; New Hampshire averages 6.1Mbps; Massachusetts boasts 5.9 Mbps on average; California does 5.8; Nevada averages 5.6 Mbps; and Minnesota 5.5 Mbps. Notably, Minnesota's speed has jumped 28 percent in past year, more than twice the increase of any of the other top 10 states.

Within the United States, Delaware is the state with the speediest average connections at 7.1Mbps. Utah and Washington, D.C. are tied at 6.4Mbps; Rhode Island averages 6.3Mbps; Vermont sees 6.2Mbps; New Hampshire averages 6.1Mbps; Massachusetts boasts 5.9 Mbps on average; California does 5.8; Nevada averages 5.6 Mbps; and Minnesota 5.5 Mbps. Notably, Minnesota's speed has jumped 28 percent in past year, more than twice the increase of any of the other top 10 states.

Drilling down to individual U.S. cities, San Jose has the fastest average connection at 8.3Mbps, not surprising given that it's the heart of Silicon Valley. Nearby, Fremont takes second place with average speeds of 7.0Mbps. The Boston metro region and Jersey City, NJ, share third place with two more California cities, Oakland and Riverside; all four average 6.8Mbps. Rounding out the list are Saint Paul, Minn., with an average speed of 6.7Mbps; Traverse City, Mich., and Union, NJ, tied at 6.6 Mbps; and Staten Island, NY, rounds out the top 10 at 6.5Mbps.

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