Moral Low Ground


US Ranks 11th in World Internet Connection Speed

Fast business

You’ve just upgraded your Internet service to get better upload and download speeds. You’re getting more than 35 megabits per second and feeling pretty good about your investment. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you live in the U.S., you’re probably getting about half of what the top countries get for Internet speeds, according to There are 10 other countries doing better than the U.S. on speed. Slowly, though, we’re catching up.

Akamai Has the Numbers

Akamai is a content delivery network that publishes a “State of the Internet” report every quarter. It lists the broadband adoption, connection speeds, Internet availability and trends for several countries. They can do this Akamai carries nearly 20 percent of all the Internet traffic across the planet.

The data shows the countries’ ranks as far as their connection speeds. The trend data shows whether countries are improving their network speed or losing ground. While the report doesn’t speculate as to what the reasons are for a country’s status, correlating the trends with world events gives some insight into how the world reacts to major events.

Almost in the Top 10

The U.S. ranks 11th in the top 20 countries on the report. The average connection speed in the U.S. is 36.6 megabits per second. The world average is barely more than 18 megabits per second. So the U.S. is better than the average, but not close to the top.

Right behind the U.S. is the U.K., with a 36.3 megabits-per-second connection speed. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have a similar challenge when it comes to increasing network speeds across the country. They both have fairly large land masses to cover with high-speed broadband options, such as fiber optic cable.

In the number 10 slot is Belgium with 38 megabits per second. The U.S. landmass covers 3.79 million square miles compared to Belgium’s 11,787 square miles. You can see the challenge the U.S. has in just inching up into the number 10 spot.

Price as a Factor

The U.S. may be pricing itself out of very high-speed Internet. The higher-speed options tend to be much more expensive than the average connection speeds. Research your local Internet options for comparison pricing. One vendor offers 305 megabits per second for more than $300 a month. The average is 20 megabits per second for $30 a month.

If you think 305 megabits per second is blazing fast, at any price, the current fastest Internet service in the world offers 500 megabits per second for $25 a month. The U.S. has a long road to the top of the list.

The Runners Up

At number three is Romania, with connection speeds of 47.9 megabits per second, which is 160 percent more than the global average. Romania might be a good choice for your next working vacation if you need to be online much.

At number two is Japan, which one might expect from such a technology-focused country. They have fiber optic cable running through much of the country, bringing the Internet at 50 megabits per second to its citizens.

The number one spot for connection speed goes to Hong Kong which, while not a country, still gets that honor. It came in at 63.6 megabits per second, which is actually 29 percent more than just one year ago.

The State of the Internet report comes out every quarter, so these rankings are subject to change. As countries work to build their high-speed Internet infrastructures, they will slowly creep up the list. While there is progress, it’s still a long way from number 11 to number one.

Jordan Remington works in the IT department of a solar energy company. He is passionate about the environment and how technology can be used to lessen our impact on the earth.

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