Broadband users can surf the internet faster on U.S. coasts than in middle America, according to a new report on connectivity speeds.
What this means is residents of the American Midwest, the Great Plains, some parts of the South, the western mountain states tend to have slower internet speeds than residents of the U.S. East Coast and U.S West Coast.
The report comes from Akamai, a company which bills itself as a global leader in Content Delivery Network, or CDN, services, and speaks to a digital divide in the U.S. which can be found – very generally – between rural and urban sections of the U.S.
In other words, internet speeds tend to be higher – again, generally speaking – in urban areas of the U.S. and slower in more rural areas.
The findings make sense in economic terms because the builders of the broadband internet infrastructure in the U.S. – the major telecommunications companies – are building broadband systems first where they can reach more customers more economically and get a higher return on investment. But a broadband system driven solely by market forces leaves less populated areas of the U.S. with an older, slower information superhighway.
“In the fourth quarter of 2016, average connection speeds showed quarterly increases among nine of the top ten states…with gains ranging from 2.5% in Maryland to 11% in California,” explains the Akamai report. “Utah was the only state in the top 10 to see a decline, as its average connection speed dropped 7.4% compared with the third quarter. The District of Columbia maintained the top spot in the country during the fourth quarter, posting an average connection speed of 26.7 Mbps, and surpassing the FCC’s 25 Mbps broadband threshold for the first time — the only state in the nation to do so.”
And, says the reports, broadband internet speeds in the U.S. are getting faster.
“Across the country, all 51 states once again saw average connection speeds above 10 Mbps (megabits per second) in the fourth quarter, with 34 states seeing speeds above 15 Mbps, up from 30 in the previous quarter,” according to the report. “Idaho again had the slowest speeds in the nation, connecting to Akamai at an average of 11.9 Mbps, up 5.8% from the third quarter.
“Seven states saw quarterly declines, ranging from a loss of 1.0% in Indiana (to 16.2 Mbps) to a loss of 7.4% in Utah. Among the 44 gaining states, quarter-over-quarter increases ranged from 0.7% in Vermont (to 16.9 Mbps) to 17% in Nevada (to 17.6 Mbps).
“In addition to Nevada, California was the only other state to post a double-digit gain. On a year-over-year basis, all 51 states enjoyed gains, led by Alaska with a 34% increase (to 13.1 Mbps). Ten other states saw gains of at least 20% compared with the preceding year. Colorado had the smallest yearly increase at 4.4% (to 14.2 Mbps). Among the top 10, yearly increases ranged from 9.5% in Delaware to 25% in the District of Columbia.”
U.S. internet speed slower than world
Overall, internet speeds in the U.S. generally lag behind much of the world.
Open Signal, a company which monitors the all important internet speeds for mobile devices, finds the average speed of internet mobile connectivity in the U.S. to be around 14 Mbps, well below the global average of 17.4 Mbps and lagging way behind the internet speeds of global leaders like Singapore, South Korea and Hungary, which have mobile internet speeds approaching 40 Mbps.
“Though South Korea also closely contested our top prize for speed, the honor goes to Singapore, which averaged download connections of 45.9 Mbps,” said Open Signal. “Thanks to new network investment and the latest LTE-Advanced technologies (for mobile devices) we’ll likely soon see some countries pushing past 50 Mbps.”
Internet speed is crucial to both consumers and businesses or organizations working on the internet.
“The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis,” according to Google. “Yet 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.”
Um…yea, a big problem.
It’s a big problem because 53 percent of us internet users now use our smartphones as our primary on-ramp to the internet, according to the latest figures from GlobalWorldIndex.
“Over the course of 2016, smartphones not only overtook PCs/ laptops to be the top device on this measure, but experienced an 18 percentage-point increase – giving us yet more context for the ongoing migration of many internet activities from desktops and laptops towards mobiles,” reports GWI.
“Moreover, while the smartphone’s status as the most important internet device might be strongest among the predominantly young and mobile-engaged online populations of fast-growth markets, we are seeing figures rise in all the markets where GWI conducts research.”