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Global broadband average hits 5.1 Mbps, 15 percent '4K ready'

Broadband connections and adoption is slowly improving but the world is still well short of a UN goal of universal access by 2015.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Top 10 nations with highest average broadband connections

The average broadband speed across the globe has reached an average of 5.1 Mbps with 65 percent of connections higher than 4 Mbps, according to Akamai.

The global average broadband speed has increased 14 percent compared with the same period last year, Akamai reported in its third quarter state of the internet snapshot.

South Korea remains the nation with the fastest broadband with users experiencing average speeds of 20.5 Mbps, though as Akamai notes, broadband speeds have declined 19 percent year on year and 11 percent compared to the second quarter.

Other nations in in Akamai's top 10 fastest, with average speeds above 14.5 Mbps, included Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Japan, Finland, Latvia and the Czech Republic. The biggest speed gain was made in Norway where connections are 44 percent faster than they were last year, followed by Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland where average speeds rose 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

At the other end of the scale, Akamai reported that Azerbaijan and Syria saw declines in speeds to 3.2 Mbps and 1.2 Mbps respectively.

The high speed nations have helped bump up the proportion of connections that are "4K ready" (15 Mbps and above) though it still remains minority. Just 15 percent of the connections exceeded this threshold, according Akamai, up 21 percent year on year.

The US has also seen across-the-board improvements to average broadband speeds over the past year, with 44 of 51 states now enjoying average speeds of above 10 Mbps, according to Akamai.

The District of Columbia saw the greatest speed increase over the past year, rising 34 percent to a average of 19.5 Mbps. States with averages above 14.8 Mbps included Delaware, Utah, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and New York. Alaska remains the state with the lowest average speeds at 8.5 Mbps, however an undersea cable schedule for the state is expected to improve speeds by 2016.

Of the countries 108 countries that Akamai includes in its report, 56 nations saw growth in the rates where at least 4 Mbps is available. According to Akamai, 65 percent of connections globally are above this threshold, up 9.8 percent from last year. In Egypt, however, just 1.3 percent of connections are at 4 Mbps speeds, while Venezuela has an adoption rate of 2.1 percent.

The figures in the report highlight the significant shortfall on the United Nation's five year goal set in 2010 for universal broadband and affordable access. Though, as Akamai notes, ambitious products like Google's Project Loon and Facebook's drone plans could assist over the longer term. Two noteworthy projects by Google include schedule Project Loon deployments in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

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