Washington Is Number One—in Slowest Internet Connections

Wade wrote today about Cambridge, MA-based Akamai’s second quarterly “State of the Internet” report, which details such trends as broadband connections by state and country, number of Internet-connected devices, and amounts of attack traffic and malware. In terms of Internet connection speeds, South Korea is tops with 64 percent of all connections (to Akamai’s content distribution servers) having a speed of 5 megabits per second or greater. Within the U.S., which comes in sixth globally, Delaware is tops, with 66 percent of its Internet connections being 5 megabits per second or faster.

At the opposite, “narrowband” end of the spectrum, Wade wrote, “the state of Washington tops the list, with 21 percent of all Internet connections taking place at the glacial speed of 256 kilobits per second or less.” And things in Washington seem to be getting worse, not better: it was one of four states on Akamai’s “narrowband top 10” list where the percentage of slow connections actually increased in the second quarter of 2008, compared to the first quarter. (Perhaps the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—which is known in part for its programs to improve Internet connectivity in U.S. libraries—can do something about its home state.)

What’s going on here? Is it that more people are coming online, but starting with slow connection speeds? Are the Internet service providers with the most market share providing a lower standard of service? Is there inherent geographical bias in the data from Akamai’s servers? It’s hard to say, because Akamai didn’t release its raw data, but the full report is available here. Of course, if you live in Washington, you may want to go grab a coffee while you download the 1.5-megabyte PDF file.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Editor in chief. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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