On October 16, Akami released its quarterly state of the Internet rankings comparing nations around the world on broadband speeds. The United States continued its upward trajectory, improving in both average connection speed and average peak connection speed. This new data further illustrates that the claims of some broadband Casandras, such as Susan Crawford, regarding the weakness of U.S. broadband networks are highly misleading.
As ITIF has noted, over the last five years America has made great strides in improving average connection speeds and enhancing broadband infrastructure. According to the latest Akami study, the U.S. now ranks eighth in the world in average connection speed, up from ninth last quarter, and 11th in average peak connection speed, which grew 34 percent year over year. It should also be mentioned that the nations ranking above us in both categories either have small, densely populated geographic areas where deployment costs are lower, or enjoy significant government subsidies for broadband deployment and adoption.
The data exemplifies the success of America’s competition-based broadband model in incentivizing innovation and promoting the continued deployment of high speed networks. This is particularly clear when we compare the U.S. to Europe, where slower network speeds and less access to high speed fiber and cable modem systems have led several officials to call for adoption of U.S.-style, competition-based telecom regulations.
That is not to say that all the news is good. The U.S. went from seventh to tenth in percentage of connections above 10 Mbps and our growth rate of 3.2 percent was well below the global average of 13 percent. This highlights the need for enhanced programs to improve broadband adoption, which will make it easier to support increased broadband investment, as well as continued support of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan to increase access to high speed networks, especially in high-cost areas
Overall, the U.S. broadband system is moving in the right direction and government policy should be focused on increasing adoption and improving access to next generation broadband technologies. This will ensure that high speed telecommunications can serve as a continued catalyst for innovation and economic growth.