Web users in Virginia enjoy the fastest average Internet connection speeds in the U.S., according to a map released by Broadview Networks. Surfers in Alaska, on the other hand, must contend with the country's slowest average speeds, although the state has seen considerable improvement in the past year.
Broadview, a New York-based network communications provider for businesses, developed the map of average Internet speeds across the U.S. using data from cloud service provider Akamai's latest "State of the Internet" report.
According to the Broadview map, Internet speeds in Virginia averaged 13.7 megabits per second in the first quarter of 2014, a 30 percent improvement over performance in the first quarter of 2013. (At the same time, however, Virginia was also the only state in the top 10 that saw average connection speeds drop since the end of 2013.) By comparison, Alaska had the slowest average connection speeds -- 7 Mbps, almost half of Virginia's rate -- even though that represented a 33 percent improvement over 2013.
A Matter of Policy
South Korea remains the global leader in Internet connectivity, with an average speed of 23.6 Mbps (a 145 percent increase over speeds in 2013), according to the 2014 Akamai report. The global average is 3.9 Mbps, which represents an improvement of 24 percent over 2013.
In a blog post accompanying the map of Internet speeds across the U.S., Russ Fordyce, Broadview's managing director of marketing, wrote: "Internet speed has been a hot topic in the news as of late, with major providers intentionally throttling speeds and the heated debate surrounding net neutrality. It isn't surprising that so many people are interested in the topic. After all, the Internet occupies much of an American's daily life. From work to pleasure, it's seemingly everywhere. But we all know that simply having Internet access doesn't cut it -- the speed (has) to be fast and consistent."
While average U.S. Internet speeds lag far behind those of world-leading South Korea, connectivity in the U.S. itself varies considerably from state to state, as the map from Broadview illustrates. That variation is driven not only by investment but by the policies and incentives for such investment, the Akamai report points out. For example, it notes that future growth in Kansas -- which "saw the largest yearly increase in average peak connection speeds" -- could "potentially be limited" by state legislation blocking cities from building their own regional broadband systems. Legislators in Utah are exploring similar restrictions.
Expect Gradual Improvement
We reached out to David Belson, Akamai's senior director of industry and data intelligence and author of the latest "State of the Internet" report, to ask about the U.S. approach to Internet connectivity. He told us the efforts to restrict network development, such as those in Kansas and Utah, "are generally driven by some of the larger incumbents who presumably want to limit the competition."
He added that, compared with a country like South Korea -- where there is "much stronger government support for high-speed broadband" -- U.S. network development is typically driven by less-ambitious goals and a more market-based approach.
The Federal Communications Commission released a National Broadband Plan in March 2010 that created a roadmap for improving Internet connectivity across the country. The agency is seeking comments for its 10th progress report on the plan, expected to be released later this year. That update could include proposed increases to the network speeds considered for Internet services to be considered "broadband."
Belson said he expected it was likely the U.S. would continue to be "stuck in that rut" of gradual network upgrades rather than pursue a more aggressive Internet upgrade strategy. However, he added, "things continue to improve -- we shouldn't lose sight of that -- both at the full country level and state level."
Posted: 2014-08-09 @ 3:14pm PT
A fast Internet of high quality is like water. You have it or you perish. America has always been a dominant force in the world, but without high quality Internet throughout this land, we will quickly become an "Also Ran".
Posted: 2014-08-09 @ 2:23pm PT
Maybe if the big companies would stop all the repeated annoying ads and put that money into infrastructure, we would all have gigabit.
Posted: 2014-08-09 @ 11:45am PT
US is spread out, countries like Korea have dense population centers so it is much easier to build a screaming network you know has a captive audience to pay for it. The cost to build a similar network all across the US is much much higher and a lot of folks in the country could care less about their internet speed as long as it is good enough to get the basics done. They will likely not be willing to pay for the additional speed. They are too busy, I do not blame them, enjoying the outdoors then a flat piece of glass.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 2:14pm PT
When we become a democracy of ideas, we will pursue being the fastest in the world, and ensure lifting our future citizens in every catagory of economic sucess world wide.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:55pm PT
Yes in Washington DC I might expect this. The country certainly needs a better, more fair infrastructure for the net. It easily could be simply wired and accessible to all. Without any 'bundles'. Just pure internet, unadulterated and cheap. Eisenhower brought us the interstate system. LBJ brought electricity to all and made it affordable. As such, the time is ripe for the bureaucrats to consider and enact legislation to bring us all affordable fast unencumbered internet. This type of fast bandwidth would quell any talk of fast lanes, which are not really needed and tantamount to censorship. These are things the monopolies like Comcast, AT&T, etc don't want you to know or have. The monopolies are in the business of exploiting you. Their Republican puppet politicians will continue to fight it so YOU can continue to be exploited. But it certainly is fair, prudent and rational.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:55pm PT
thank the boys from LL Bean at langley
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:53pm PT
Google Fiber needs to be everywhere in the US with its amazing Internet speeds which can reach 1 gigabit per second.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:45pm PT
One of the places with the fastest internet speeds is Kansas City. Google Fiber is 1000 down 1000 up. Sorry, Time Warner in Austin. Compared to Google Fiber, your internet is slow at 300. :)
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:29pm PT
I live in VA. I'll bet the study excludes those where no internet is available, like where I live, speed = 0.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:25pm PT
Time warner in Austin is at 300mbps down and 30mbps up. Fastest cable provider in the nations at this time.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:19pm PT
This kind of map should be by county, not state, because as others have noted there can be great variety within a state.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:14pm PT
Time to transfer the Pentagon to Alaska?
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:09pm PT
Currently, Bulgarian Internet speed is one of the fastest in the world.
Can not believe we are behind BULGARIA?
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:05pm PT
Internet can vary everywhere... Depending on your ISP, How old your house is (Meaning the wiring) and many more variables...
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 1:00pm PT
Count your blessings, folks.
In Stone County Arkansas we have the luxury of dialup internet circa 1990.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:56pm PT
Apparently Virginia is not only for lovers, but fast and well-connected ones as well!
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:56pm PT
Agreed. It's basically a dumb map. Internet speed isn't a function of the state you live in; city-by-city is more indicative, and often section of the city, even down to specific address. Folk's on Kansas City's Google fiber could care less what this map says, they're doing just fine.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:54pm PT
The number one reason that Virginia is topping the list is because of NOVA. I guarantee you that the people in Southern Virginia are not getting those speeds
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:47pm PT
It's the Obama equivalent of Christie's Bridgegate. Almost all of the states with higher speeds voted for Obama. Almost all of the states that voted for Romney have slower speeds. This is the clearest evidence I've seen of the Obama government takeover. They are purposely punishing those states that did not vote for Obama. Thankfully, I am kidding - I hope everyone gets a laugh out of this.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:46pm PT
In the Philadelphia area, home of Comcast, I'm getting 95mbps down and 12mbps up. Costs me $70 / month and rarely goes down. I couldn't be happier.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:44pm PT
The top speed states are also top data center states. Those lines are not consumer lines.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:43pm PT
Unfortunately for you, the majority of the people in GA live in densely populated metropolitan areas. So I suppose what I am saying is, sucks for you but not everyone lives in the sticks. Everyone YOU know may, but that is not the entire population of the state.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:34pm PT
The map is bogus. I live in GA. My ISP is Windstream. My max internet speed is about 3mbps. That is the same for nearly every adjacent county. Unless you live IN a metro area in GA, you are not getting anywhere near the average. A REAL map would show that Average internet speed in urban/suburban areas is great. Outside of that, the rest of us are left to rot. My county (Lumpkin) has NO cable companies. Our only choice is Windstream DSL, and is is woefully inadequate.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:28pm PT
Kentucky is a time-warner state
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:27pm PT
..but it's still a "God and Guns" red state, and you couldn't pay me to move there.
Posted: 2014-08-08 @ 12:16pm PT
Hmmmm. Amaaaazing that the fastest speeds are in the states with major Defense/CIA/NSA monitoring centers. Who woulda thunk it?