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Average US Speeds Don't Qualify as Broadband

Mari Silbey
6/25/2015
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Average Internet speeds are improving in the US, but they're still nowhere near the broadband threshold that the FCC recently defined as 25 Mbits/s downstream.

According to Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM)'s latest quarterly State of the Internet report, only the top six states in the US -- Delaware, Virginia, Washington D.C. (OK, not technically a state), Utah, Massachusetts and Rhode Island -- boast average connection speeds above 15 Mbits/s. The overall average Internet speed across the country tops out at 11.9 Mbits/s. That's 13% higher than last year's average, but ranks the US at only number 19 in the world for fastest connection speeds.

Source: Akamai's Q1 2015 State of the Internet report
Source: Akamai's Q1 2015 State of the Internet report

Interestingly, average peak speeds are growing at a faster clip than just average speeds. Nationally, the average peak speed jumped 31% from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015. That number now sits at 53.3 Mbits/s. The difference in growth rates means there's an increasing disparity between the highest broadband speeds users are enjoying and the average connection speeds that most Americans access. In other words, the highest-end broadband experience is improving at a faster rate than the average broadband experience.

As Akamai notes, part of the reason Internet speeds are increasing is because of the trend toward gigabit broadband services. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, Akamai cites at least half a dozen new gigabit city launches, and many more are planned through the rest of 2015. (See Comcast Tees Up More Gigabit Markets and Portland Leapfrogs Google's Gigabit Queue – Report.)


The rollout of Gigabit broadband access networks is spreading. Find out what's happening where in our dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel here on Light Reading.


Currently, Delaware tops all states in both average connection speed and average peak connection speed with numbers at 18.6 Mbits/s and 85.6 Mbits/s respectively. Alaska holds the record for lowest average connection speed at 8.2 Mbits/s. Kentucky takes last place for lowest average peak speed at 37.1 Mbits/s.

Globally, Singapore wins the prize for the highest average peak speed at 98.5 Mbits/s. South Korea has the highest average speed at 23.6 Mbit/s -- a rate that still doesn't meet the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's definition of broadband.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2015 | 12:35:15 PM
Re: Download speed OK Upload speed horrific
I really detest the speed that I get from Comcast in California. It almost seems like they are throttling me when I use internet radio or Skype.

I think that providers should be required to match the speeds they advertise over a specific period of time. Becuase I don't think I'm getting what was advertised to me. 
davidhoffman5
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davidhoffman5,
User Rank: Lightning
6/28/2015 | 8:24:04 AM
The cable companies can simply upgrade customers.
The cable companies can simply upgrade customers who are subscribed to speed tiers less than 25 Mbps to 25 Mbps. No new hardware needed. The telephone companies using ADSL2+ cannot do that.  The FCC should have recognized this and set the standard at perhaps 10 Mbps. Something reasonably attainable by the telephone companies.
kq4ym
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kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/27/2015 | 9:05:12 AM
Re: Peak to Average
I suspect folks opt for the higher speeds because of the advertising one sees more than a real need. Although one supposedly "needs" highest speeds to watch video and have multiple devices online at once, I've found I have no problems at home using CenturyLinks slowest service. The down side is fully ample for everything, but the upload side is not quite up to par if you need to upload video. Even though it's slow by most people's standards I find it fine. I'd like to see more bang for the buck thought, faster speed without exhorbitent cost.
brooks7
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brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/26/2015 | 5:50:04 PM
Re: Peak to Average
Not what the physical connectivity is...what the processor can actually process and absorb.

Put a GigE on a single core ATOM processor and you will not get 1 Gbps throughput.

seven

 
Student80232
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Student80232,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/26/2015 | 3:46:47 PM
Re: Peak to Average
@brooks7:
standard computers (since ~2010) are capable of gigabit ethernet (wired connection), and gigabit wireless routers are also now available for a premium (around $200) and many newer devices also support it.

To check your device look for the following terminology:
On wireless networks, the new AC standard is gigabit. On the wired side, CAT5 refers to gigabit ethernet cables and 10/100/1000 refers to gigabit networking cards (1000 megabits = gigabit).

granted your real life speeds won't reach the spec due to some overhead but the point is that most laptops and desktops actually are capable of much more than many americans' ISPs offer.
brooks7
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brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/26/2015 | 12:19:18 PM
Peak to Average
I think that says a whole lot more about value and inertia than it does technology.

Interesting that nobody anywhere had 1 Gbps.  Where are the Gigabit Cities?

So, the question is what causes you to upgrade your Internet Speed.  If I am tested, you will find that I am not buying the highest speed grade available.  Why?  I see no value in it.  The package I originally bought was a 25Mbps package and Comcast doubled my speed without asking me.  I have 150 Mb/s option available, but find no value to it. We are not congested at my house and I prefer my router (and I don't use theirs) and my WiFi (which is why I don't use theirs) to have more bandwidth than my WAN.

Has anybody gone in and measured the capability of the average desktop and what bandwidth it can actually absorb in a download?

seven

 
Editor,C47635
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Editor,C47635,
User Rank: Lightning
6/26/2015 | 10:05:47 AM
Download speed OK Upload speed horrific
I have AT&T FTTN, although the service was advertised as FTTH when purchased. Mid-morning my download speed is 23 Mbps due to a recent upgrade; however upload speed is quite poor and stands at 1.98 Mbps. The only answer to achieving adequate bandwidth, in my opinion, is true FTTH.
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