CAMBRIDGE, MA â€“ The global average connection speed was 3.9 Mbps as of first quarter-end, and it is expected to surpass the 4 Mbps broadband threshold next quarter, according to Akamai Technologies, a provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, in its First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report.
Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, overall attack traffic, network connectivity/availability issues, and traffic patterns across leading Web properties and digital media providers.
Global Average Connection Speeds and Global Broadband Connectivity
The global average connection speed climbed 1.8 percent to continue its steady growth over recent quarters, and while global average peak connection speeds dropped 8.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014, year-over-year trends remained positive with a 13 percent increase.
In the first quarter, nine of the top 10 countries/regions saw increases in average connection speeds, including an 8 percent jump for first place South Korea (23.6 Mbps), which is now 9 Mbps ahead of second place Japan (14.6 Mbps). Of the top 10 countries, only the Czech Republic experienced a decrease in average connection speed, remaining in eighth place with a 1.9 percent drop.
With the global average connection speed at 3.9 Mbps as of quarter-end, it is expected that the measurement will surpass the 4 Mbps broadband threshold next quarter. In the first quarter, nine of the top 10 countries/regions saw increases in average connection speeds, including an 8 percent jump for first place South Korea (23.6 Mbps), which is now 9 Mbps ahead of second place Japan (14.6 Mbps). Of the top 10 countries, only the Czech Republic experienced a decrease in average connection speed, remaining in eighth place with a 1.9 percent drop.
Year-over-year, global average connection speeds grew by 24 percent and increases were seen in all but seven countries/regions. Growth ranged from a low of 0.7 percent in Panama (2.6 Mbps) to a high of 196 percent in Sudan (3.2 Mbps). South Korea showed a 145% increase from the first quarter of 2013, a growth rate that nearly tripled Ireland’s 47 percent increase, which ranked second in year-over-year growth among the top 10.
Increases in global average peak connection speeds during the first quarter of 2014 ranged from 0.2 percent in Colombia (16.8 Mbps) to 76 percent in Sudan (13.4 Mbps). A total of 43 qualifying countries/regions saw quarter-over-quarter increases in their average peak connection speeds, whereas 92 qualifying countries/regions saw declines.
The year-over-year story remains positive. Since the first quarter of 2013, global average peak connection speeds increased 13 percent. Yearly growth rates among the top 10 countries/regions ranged from 0.3 percent in Hong Kong (66 Mbps) to an impressive 206 percent in Uruguay (45.4 Mbps).
Global high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption rates in the first quarter improved by 9.4 percent quarter-over-quarter, climbing above the 20 percent mark for the first time, to 21 percent. Once again, all of the countries/regions in the top 10 had high broadband adoption rates of 30 percent, with South Korea (77 percent), Japan (54 percent) and Switzerland (45 percent) topping the list. The year-over-year growth rate was 65 percent, with six of the top 10 countries/regions seeing increases of 50 percent or more.
Growing Global Broadband Adoption Rates
The global broadband (>4 Mbps) adoption rate grew a nominal 1.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to reach 56 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Of the countries/regions that qualified, 76 had higher broadband adoption rates this quarter â€“ growth ranged from 0.2 percent in Canada (82 percent adoption) to 1,208 percent in Sudan (21 percent adoption). Since the first quarter of 2013, global broadband adoption rates grew by 24 percent, with extremely large year-over-year upticks seen in Kenya (1,100 percent to 4.9 percent adoption), Uruguay (3,298 percent to 34 percent adoption) and Sudan (5,926 percent).
“While there continues to be room for improvement in high broadband adoption and average peak connection speeds in some areas of the world, the trends we’re seeing remain very positive,” said David Belson, the author of the report. “Steady year-over-year growth suggests that a strong, global foundation is being built for the enjoyment of next generation content and services like 4K video and increasingly connected homes and offices, and that connectivity will continue to evolve to support the growing demands these emerging technologies will place on the Internet.”
With 4K (Ultra HD) adaptive bitrate streams generally requiring between 10 and 20 Mbps of bandwidth, the new “4K Readiness” metric presented for the first time in the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report highlights the percentage of connections to Akamai at speeds above 15 Mbps, with the goal of identifying candidate geographies most likely to be able to sustain such streams. The findings do not account for other “readiness” factors, including availability of 4K-encoded content or 4K-capable televisions and players.
Globally, 11 percent of connections were at speeds of 15 Mbps or above in the first quarter. Seven of the top 10 countries/regions on the 4K readiness list overlapped with those on the global high broadband connectivity list. South Korea led the list with 60 percent 4K readiness while Japan had 32 percent of its connections at that level in the first quarter. Of the top 10, the Czech Republic had the lowest level of 4K readiness with 17 percent. Overall, 47 countries/regions qualified for inclusion.
IPv4 and IPv6
In the first quarter of 2014, more than 795 million unique IPv4 addresses from 240 countries/regions connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform. This was 1.6 percent more than in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 7.8 percent more than a year prior. Quarterly growth was seen in six of the top 10 countries/regions. Brazil was again a standout with 12 percent and 50 percent of quarterly and yearly growth, respectively.
European countries continued to lead in IPv6 adoption, taking eight of the top 10 slots. Belgium grew nearly 200 percent quarter-over-quarter, jumping to first place with 14 percent of its traffic over IPv6. The United States and Peru were the only two countries from the Americas within the top 10, while Japan fell out of the top 10, leaving the Asia Pacific region unrepresented within the group.
U.S. Leads in IPv6 Requests
The report also lists the top 20 network providers based on their number of IPv6 requests made to Akamai during the first quarter. The highest request volumes came from cable and wireless providers in the United States. Verizon Wireless had the highest percentage (45 percent) of requests over IPv6, while 12 other providers also had more than 10 percent of their requests to Akamai over IPv6 during the first quarter. European providers were also heavily represented, including three providers from Belgium with strong showings. KDDI (Japan) and Telekom Malaysia were the only two providers to represent the Asia Pacific region, while Telefonica del Peru was the only South American provider on the list.
Mobile Broadband Connectivity
In the first quarter of 2014, average mobile connection speeds ranged from 1.0 Mbps in Argentina to 14.7 Mbps in South Korea. Though the latter was the only country/region with average mobile connection speeds above the 10 Mbps high-broadband threshold, 20 countries/regions had average connection speeds above the 4 Mbps threshold. A total of 56 countries/regions qualified for inclusion in the mobile section. Note that starting with the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, mobile connectivity is being aggregated at a country level, rather than at a provider level.
Average peak mobile connection speeds among qualifying countries spanned a broad range, from 114.2 Mbps in Australia down to just 5.0 Mbps in Iran. In total, 43 countries showed average peak connection speeds above 10 Mbps.
The State of the Internet Report now includes a broadband adoption statistic within the Mobile Connectivity section. This quarter, Ukraine had the highest level of mobile broadband adoption, with 89 percent of mobile connections to Akamai from the country at speeds above 4 Mbps.