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Global Broadband Rankings: Who is Leading the Pack and Who is Falling Behind

Akamai Connectivity Report and OECD Reports Provide Global Insights

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Global broadband access is measured by various factors, including speed, universal access and adoption. There are several metrics to conisder when assessing the level of broadband penetration and the average speeds provided to end users. One of those metrics is provided by global content delivery company Akamai. Every quarter Akamai analyzes traffic patterns and the volume of Internet traffic around the world.

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Akamai's position in the industry as a content provider with a globally deployed network, enables them to be a good gauge of global trends when it comes to broadband penetration. Akamai reported over 665 million unique IP addresses, just less than one million fewer addresses than were seen in the first quarter reported by the company. The data collected by Akamai provides a treasure trove of information regarding broadband adoption, connection speeds and other data. Some of the most interesting data comes from their analysis of global trends. These are some of the more pertinent findings:

  • Looking at connection speeds, the global average connection speed grew 13% to 3.0 Mbps, and the global average peak connection speed grew 19% to 16.1 Mbps.
  • At a country level, South Korea had the highest average connection speed at 14.2 Mbps, while Hong Kong recorded the highest average peak connection speed, at 49.2 Mbps.

Akamai defines “high broadband” as connections of 10 Mbps or higher and “broadband” as connections of 4 Mbps or higher. Based on this definition:

Globally, high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption dropped 1.6% in the second quarter, staying at 10% South Korea continued to have the highest level of high broadband adoption, at 49%. Global broadband (>4 Mbps) adoption dropped 2.8% to 39%, with South Korea having the highest level of broadband adoption,at 84%.

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The global average connection speed once again saw a solid quarter-over-quarter increase, growing 13% to reach 3.0 Mbps

According to Akamai:

"Long term trends were generally more positive, with the global average connection speed growing 15% year-over-year, and seven of the top 10 countries also seeing increases year-over year. Four countries saw particularly strong growth, with Japan,Switzerland, the United States, and Finland all growing more than 10%. Among the top 10, only Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic lost ground year-over-year, with the 14% decline seen in Hong Kong the most significant. Globally, 100 qualifying countries saw year-over-year increases, ranging from 242% in Kenya to just 0.4% in New Zealand (to 3.9 Mbps). Year-over-year declines were seen in 34 countries, with losses ranging from a meager 0.3% in Bangladesh (to 0.7 Mbps) to Libya’s 69% decline (to 0.5 Mbps)."

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Another important metric for assessing the level of broadband access is the percentage of a nation's population with access to fixed wireline and mobile broadband networks. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) global wireline statistics globally are as follows:

"Switzerland tops for the first time the OECD fixed broadband ranking, with 39.9 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, followed closely by the Netherlands (39.1) and Denmark (37.9). The OECD average is 25.6, according to new OECD statistics.

Fixed wired broadband subscriptions reached 314 million in the OECD area at the end of 2011, although growth slowed to 1.8% in the second half. Year-on-year subscriptions rose by 4.1%. Greece, Poland and Chile experienced the highest growth, of 6%, to reach 21.8, 15.0 and 11.7 respectively."

Data from the OECD found the U.S. ranking 15th among OECD nations in broadband access per 100 inhabitants as of December 2011, compared to fourth place in a 2001 OECD study measuring subscribership per 100 inhabitants (after Korea, Sweden, and Canada).

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