World Tech Leader? U.S. Internet Speed Not in Top 10

2 minute read
Chelsi Nakano avatar

Each quarter, Akamai (news, site) publishes a “State of the Internet” report. The rundown includes data gathered across Akamai’s global server network about attack traffic and broadband adoption, as well as where each country ranks in speed.

Q3’s verdict: United States, we’re not even in the top 10 (insert sad emoticon here).

First, a Visual

Here’s a handy visual of the countries with the speediest ‘net, according to Akamai:


As you can see, the United States ranked 18th out of 203 nations tested, while locations like South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong turned out to be the fastest of the fast. Moreover, the United States’ average overall speed decreased by 2.4% year-over-year from 2008 to 2009. Bummer.


The report attributes these slower times to several factors, including two major hurricanes (Gustav and Ike) which primarily impacted Louisiana and Texas, but moved through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania as well.

The is also mention of the recent Google’s Apps and Gmail availability issues that seemingly sent the entire Internet into a tizzy. Some instances included multi-hour service availability issues (noted on July 8, August 7 and August 11) as well as a multi-hour outage on Jaiku’s part.

Learning Opportunities

Lastly, at the end of September 2009, the website for the United States House of Representatives suffered from several hiccups as users attempted to download the text of a US$ 700 billion emergency “bailout” bill. Citizens’ relentless attempts to use the e-mail form on the site to contact their representatives also ultimately caused the site some down time.

Keep Calm and Carry On 

Supposedly, this news isn't that bad when looked at from a global perspective. The report states:

“The global average connection speed is once again increasing, after an unusual drop in the second quarter. The average connection speed of 1.7 Mbps returns it to a level consistent with the first quarter of 2009.”

As well as:

“While the United States saw a small quarterly gain in average connection speeds, increasing to 3.9 Mbps, from a year-over-year perspective, the trend is negative, though just slightly so.”

So we’re only slightly in trouble? We’ll let you decide for yourself. You can check out the entire Q3 report here, including details about significant new connectivity improvements in wireless, broadband and undersea cables.