Global Internet Connection Speeds: America lags far behind leaders

If Internet connection speed was an Olympic event, America wouldn't even get a medal.

If ‘Internet connection speed’ was an Olympic event, the USA wouldn’t even get a medal. In fact, America would finish somewhere between 9th and 24th, depending on the exact event – I mean comparison. This assessment comes from a recent Akamai report on “The State of the Internet.”

According to this CNN article, which commented on the report, Hong Kong takes Internet speed title:

“The city was found to have the highest average peak connection speed of just over 54 megabits per second during the third quarter of 2012….

In the peak speed stakes, Hong Kong is followed by South Korea (48.8 Mbps), Japan (42.2 Mbps), Latvia (37.5 Mbps) and Romania (37.4 Mbps).

The United States straggled in in 14th place with 29.6 Mbps. The U.S. state with the fastest connection is still Delaware with a swift 10.9 Mbps, although the District of Columbia is catching up.”

Data Collection Methods

How is the data collected? Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the Akamai report’s executive summary:

“Akamai’s globally distributed Intelligent Platform allows us to gather massive amounts of information on many metrics, including connection speeds, attack traffic, network connectivity/availability/latency problems, and IPv6 growth/transition progress, as well as traffic patterns across leading Web sites and digital media providers. Each quarter, Akamai publishes the State of the Internet Report. This report includes data gathered from across the Akamai intelligent Platform during the third quarter of 2012 about attack traffic, broadband adoption, and mobile connectivity, as well as trends seen in this data over time. In addition, this quarter’s report includes insight into SSL, the state of IPv6 adoption as measured by Hurricane Electric along with perspectives on the U.S. government’s IPv6 deadline, and observations from Akamai partner Ericsson comparing application traffic on 2G and 3G networks.”

This Internet data can be visualized in several ways at this website, which allows a wide variety of search parameters.

Any Good News?

Is there any good news coming? Perhaps.

Back in 2010, Newsweek ran this article asking: How fast will your Internet be in 2020? The article talks about the broadband situation in various parts of the country and what is being done to improve things going forward.

Meanwhile CNBC just reported that: Telecom firm’s spending on network gear is expected to be up in 2013, after being down in 2012. Also, network investments are expected to be way up in the USA, while flat in Europe.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also track broadband speeds across the country. Ever since the Recovery Act grants to expand broadband access, this website has tracked investments.  In addition this website has detailed progress on broadband connectivity in your state and zip code area.

Tracking Recent Cyberattack Sources

The Akamai report also listed sources of Internet attacks:

“China was found to be the single largest source of attack traffic -- 33% -- during the quarter. Attacks from the country doubled during the period, a statistic the report described as "somewhat surprising."

The United States and Russia came next in the top three. In all, the top 10 countries were responsible for almost three quarters of global attacks.”

The UK website TheRegister had this to say about China’s cyberattack numbers:

This is actually a little curious, since compared to other countries in the region, China's internet infrastructure is not all that impressive. China's share of attack traffic was up sharply from the previous quarter, too, when its packets only accounted for 16 per cent of all attacks….

Chinese customers' average peak connection speed was just 7.1Mbps, and only 3.9 per cent of Chinese had access to broadband faster than 4Mbps.

But China is a nation of 1.3 billion people, and while many have no access to the internet for now, more are coming online every day. By Akamai's latest figures, the number of Chinese with access to 4Mbps broadband increased 79 per cent year-over-year, and the number with access to connections at speeds 10Mbps or higher was up 70 per cent. Hopefully the number of cyber-attacks coming from China does not keep pace with the growth of its infrastructure.”

What About Your Current Connection Speed?

Getting a bit more personal, many people want to know what their current Internet connection speed is at home or work. In case you want to check your own connection speed, you can use this tool from 

I must admit, that my home and work Internet connection speeds were well above the listed top International averages, so I’m feeling pretty happy right now.

How about you? Any comments on Internet connection speeds in your part of the world?

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.
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