Average Global Connection Speed Increased 20 percent in 2014

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Akamai Technologies, a provider of content delivery network (CDN) services, has seen healthy global growth across all its key metrics for Internet connectivity, according to its Fourth 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 and broadband adoption across fixed and mobile networks, overall attack traffic, global 4K readiness, and IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation.

"Over the course of 2014, we've seen healthy global growth across all of our key metrics for Internet connectivity, broadband adoption and 4K readiness," said David Belson, editor of the report. "The positive trends make an interesting contrast to a recent study that found 4.4 billion people around the world do not go online, indicating a strong need for continued efforts to improve and deploy Internet infrastructure globally."

Global Average Connection Speeds and Global Broadband Connectivity
The Report showed that for the third consecutive quarter, the global average connection speed remained above the 4 Mbps "broadband" threshold, increasing a nominal 0.7 percent to 4.5 Mbps.

Quarterly global average connection speed changes were mixed across the top 10 countries/regions, with six seeing increases, three seeing decreases and Switzerland (14.5 Mbps) remaining unchanged. Among the regions/countries where average connection speeds grew quarter-over-quarter, the largest increase was seen in Sweden (14.6 Mbps), with a modest 3.5 percent gain. Globally, a total of 98 qualifying countries/regions saw average connection speeds increase in the fourth quarter, with growth rates ranging from 78 percent in Nepal (2.5 Mbps) down to a meager 0.1 percent in the Czech Republic (12.3 Mbps). The average connection speed increased 20 percent globally year-over-year with increases seen in 132 qualifying countries, including growth rates ranging from 0.3 percent in Morocco (2.4 Mbps) to 146 percent in Congo (1.3 Mbps).

Similar to the average connection speed, the global average peak connection speed increased slightly in the fourth quarter by 8.4% to 26.9 Mbps. Hong Kong again had the highest average peak connection speed at 87.7 Mbps, but all of the top 10 saw average peak speeds greater than 60 Mbps. On a global basis, 114 out of 142 qualifying countries/regions experienced average peak connection speed increases from the third quarter, with growth ranging from 0.1 percent in Slovenia (39.3 Mbps) to 90 percent in Congo (10 Mbps). One hundred six qualifying countries/regions' average peak connection speeds increased from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Global high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption rates increased 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, after a slight decline in the third quarter. South Korea's 79 percent high broadband adoption rate remained far ahead of second-place Hong Kong with a 60 percent adoption rate. Among the 65 qualifying countries/regions that qualify for this metric, 42 saw quarter-over-quarter increases, ranging from Norway’s 1 percent bump to 35 percent high broadband adoption up to Qatar’s significant 282 percent jump to 20 percent adoption. Only China saw a year-over-year decline in high broadband adoption, dropping a surprising 37 percent to a 1.1 percent adoption rate. Across the 63 qualifying geographies, yearly increases ranged from 8 percent in Austria (26.4 percent adoption) to a massive 2,000 percent in Qatar (20 percent adoption).

The global broadband (>4 Mbps) adoption rate decreased slightly in the fourth quarter, losing 0.7 percent to 59 percent adoption. One hundred four countries/regions qualified for inclusion for this metric, 76 of which saw quarterly growth in broadband adoption rates. Bulgaria had the highest level of broadband adoption in the fourth quarter at 96 percent, just edging out last quarter's leader South Korea, which experienced a 0.1 percent decline in its adoption rate. Quarter-over-quarter increases ranged from 0.2 percent in Switzerland (93 percent adoption) to 186 percent in Nepal (17 percent adoption). The global broadband adoption rate increased 7.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013, slower than the 12 percent seen in the previous quarter, continuing the downward trend of yearly growth rates that has been observed over the last several quarters.

4K Readiness
Following the introduction of "4K Readiness" in the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, Akamai continues to identify candidate geographies that are most likely to sustain connection speeds above 15 Mbps, as Ultra HD adaptive bitrate streams typically require bandwidth between 10 and 20 Mbps. The findings do not account for other "readiness" factors, including availability of 4K-encoded content or 4K-capable televisions and media players.

In total, 55 countries/regions qualified for inclusion this quarter, and 12 percent of the global connections were at or above the 15 Mbps threshold. While quarter-over-quarter readiness increased by only 0.6 percent, it grew year-over-year by 37 percent. South Korea remained the country at the highest level of 4K readiness, with two-thirds of its connections to Akamai at or above 15 Mbps.

IPv4 and IPv6
In the fourth quarter of 2014, nearly 803 million unique IPv4 addresses, from 239 unique countries/regions, connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform. This is 1.5 percent more than in the third quarter of 2014, and 2.5 percent more than in the same quarter last year. The number of unique IPv4 addresses seen globally by Akamai grew by about 12 million quarter over quarter. Among the top 10 countries in the fourth quarter, the unique IP count in the U.S. was the only one to decline, showing a 3.4 percent loss compared to the previous quarter. The United Kingdom and South Korea showed the largest gains, at 8.1 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively. Seventy percent of countries/regions across the globe had higher unique IPv4 address counts year-over-year. In all, 27 countries saw yearly growth rates above 50 percent, while three countries saw IPv4 address counts decline more than 50 percent.

Norway saw an 88 percent quarter-over-quarter jump in IPv6 traffic, although Belgium remains in the lead with 32 percent of content requests made over IPv6, more than double that of second-place Germany. As seen in previous quarters, cable and wireless providers continued to drive the number of IPv6 requests made to Akamai, many of which are leading the way for IPv6 adoption in their respective countries. Verizon Wireless and Brutele saw more than half of their requests to Akamai made over IPv6, with Telenet close behind.

Mobile Connectivity
In the Fourth Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, 50 countries/regions qualified for inclusion in the mobile section. The United Kingdom had the fastest average connection speed at 16.0 Mbps. The next closest country, Denmark, had just over half that speed, at 8.8 Mbps. New Caledonia had the lowest average mobile connection speed at 1.0 Mbps.

As seen in previous reports, average peak mobile connection speeds again spanned an extremely broad range in the fourth quarter, from 157.3 Mbps in Singapore down to 7.5 Mbps in Argentina. Japan (116.3 Mbps) and Australia (129.9 Mbps) were the only two countries in addition to Singapore to see average peak speeds above 100 Mbps, and only Turkey (69.1 Mbps) and the United Kingdom (61.8 Mbps) had speeds above 50 Mbps.

The report also examines the percentage of connections to Akamai from mobile network providers at "broadband" speeds (more than 4 Mbps). In the fourth quarter, Venezuela, Denmark, Saudi Arabia and Sweden led the pack, each with a tremendous 97 percent level of mobile broadband adoption. Bolivia and New Caledonia both had adoption rates below 1 percent.


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