Internet speeds are increasing around the world, with the fast getting faster and some, like the United States, not keeping up, according to the Akamai State of the Internet report for the first quarter of the year.
Year-over-year Internet speeds increased 17 percent globally, with South Korea, Japan and Switzerland the nations with the fastest connections. But the U.S. dropped from eighth to ninth place in Akamai's ranking, as Sweden took the eighth spot with an average 8.9 megabits per second connection speed. The average speed in the U.S. was 8.6 megabits, but Akamai also found a disparity from state to state within the U.S.
While many countries are leaping ahead with their average Internet connection speeds, the U.S. has been unable to compete. However, the numbers reflected on a nationwide scale tell a different story from the numbers seen among individual states.
When looking at the average Internet speeds of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Delaware, all three are faster than second-place Japan. Even though the comparison is not completely equal since Vermont and New Hampshire are significantly smaller than Japan, it does seem to point out an unfortunate discrepancy within the states.
The issue for the U.S. seems to come from outdated and unfair practices among major Internet service providers. Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama on science, technology, and innovation, said the major issue is that "the rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we're creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality."
The South Korea Solution
In order to become the best it is normally beneficial to look at the best, and when it comes to Internet connection speeds, South Korea is ahead of everyone.
The lack of competition among U.S. broadband providers has long been the main cause of slower Internet. One of the other issues is that South Korea is far more connected to high-speed Internet than people in the U.S. Around 95 percent of South Koreans have high-speed Internet, compared with just 65 percent in America.
In South Korea, the government has subsidized high-speed Internet for most low-income or unconnected citizens. The level of importance placed on the Internet is also much higher in South Korea, even from an early age. Most parents consider high-speed Internet to be crucial to education for their children, whereas it is considered a distraction by the average American parent.
Another aspect of the Akamai Q1 report was security. According to its statistics, 154 organizations reported distributed denial-of-service attacks during the quarter, which was an increase from Q4.
Most of these attacks originated in Asia, with 34 percent of all attack traffic coming from China. Akamai also broke down specific industries that experienced a large number of attacks during Q1. Nearly 35 percent of companies were attacked, with 22 percent of media and seven percent of high-tech customers dealing with a distributed denial-of-service attack.