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Global Average Broadband ISP Speeds Top 2.6Mbps as UK Hits 5.6Mbps

Thursday, Aug 9th, 2012 (1:27 pm) - Score 1,363

The latest State of the Internet Q1 2012 report from content delivery firm Akamai has revealed that the average global internet download speed increased from 2.3Mbps in Q4-2011 to 2.6Mbps (Megabits\sec) at the end of the first quarter, while the average UK speed jumped from 4.9Mbps to 5.6Mbps (22nd fastest country) over the same period.

Curiously Akamai has decided that its previous definition of “broadband“, which stood at 2Mbps+, should now be raised to a minimum threshold of 4Mbps. Apparently this brings their report more into line with USA, China and EU policy, although the EU’s Digital Agenda doesn’t strictly define what “basic broadband” actually is (i.e. 0.5-4Mbps that is targetted to be within reach of every EU citizen by 2013) and the UK’s minimum “universal commitment” for 2015 is still 2Mbps+.

Akamai Statement

Broadband connections are now defined as 4 Mbps or greater, while high broadband now includes those connections to the Akamai Intelligent Platform at 10 Mbps or greater. Taking this new definition into consideration, global adoption of high broadband reached 10 percent, up 19 percent quarter-over-quarter. Among the top 10 countries for high broadband adoption, South Korea topped the list with 53 percent penetration. Japan (37 percent), Hong Kong (28 percent), Latvia (26 percent) and the Netherlands (24 percent) rounded out the top five.

As usual South Korea, which is home to a national superfast fibre optic (FTTH) telecoms infrastructure, remains the fastest broadband country in the world with average download speeds of 15.7Mbps (sharply down from 17.5Mbps in Q4-2011) and peaks of 47.8Mbps. Meanwhile the fastest European state remains the Netherlands on 8.8Mbps (up from 8.2Mbps in Q4-2011), which peaks at 29.4Mbps. It’s worth pointing out that the UK’s peak connection speed is 23.7Mbps.

akamai q1 2012 global internet download speeds

The report notes that 58% of broadband users in the UK experienced internet download speeds of above 4Mbps and just 6.5% were able to get speeds of 10Mbps+, which is due to the dominance of slower ADSL/ADSL2+ based connections that often deliver speeds of well below the advertised rate.

Elsewhere the average UK mobile download speed (Mobile Broadband) increased to 3.2Mbps (up from 3.1Mbps in Q4-2011), while global mobile data traffic increased by 19% during Q1-2012.

It’s important to recognise that Akamai’s report reflects the regional performance of its content delivery network and their connections with related ISP servers around the world, thus it should perhaps not be taken as a reflection of end-user connection speeds. The performance of a remote Content Delivery Network (CDN) can be affected by all sorts of different factors.

By comparison Ofcom’s most recent UK results (here), which cover the period up to November 2011, found that average broadband download speeds had increased to 7.6Mbps (up by 11% from 6.8Mbps last summer 2011). As a side note the regulator has informed ISPreview.co.uk that their latest speeds report should be out next week.

Akamai’s State of the Internet Q1 2012 Report

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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