By Eli on August 16th, 2016 at 12:03 pm
Akamai measures Internet connectivity and security over the course of the study. Data collected includes states with the most widespread access to speeds of at least 10Mbps. The study also examines max and average speeds in 10 countries. In Q1 2016, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Utah round out the top five for Internet speed.
States with the slowest Internet include Mississippi, Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky and Ohio. The difference can be significant; Delaware’s average speed clocks in at three times as fast as Ohio’s. Fortunately, Internet speeds in America have been on the rise since Q4 in 2014, so Ohio and company could get a speed upgrade in the near future.
Other tidbits from the findings:
- Eastern seaboard states (and DC) comprise eight of the top ten states for speed. They include Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and Virginia. Utah (#5) and Washington (#10) were the only western states in the top ten.
- Southern states didn’t appear on the list until #25 Tennessee.
States with the most growth
By far, the District of Columbia saw the biggest bump in average speed from Q1 in 2015 to 2016, with a 48% increase. DC residents get an average of 24Mbps, nearly 3Mbps higher than second-place Delaware. Virginia, the ninth-fastest state, saw a negligible drop of 1.8% to 18Mbps in the same period.
Speed increased year-over-year for all states and DC. That should surprise no one; Fiber and other gigabit Internet offerings are springing up all over the nation, from metro areas to small towns.
Two notable initiatives:
- NYC | In Q4 2015, New York City converted payphone stands to Wi-Fi hotspots in a private-public arrangement. The hotspots reached speeds of 300Mbps during beta testing.
- Holland, Michigan | The town built its first fiber network twenty years ago. Today, it delivers free gigabit Internet in phase one of a pilot program to serve the whole town.
What else can we learn?
Internet speed is on the rise, domestically and globally.
It’s not an increase in the fastest speeds available; it’s also the percentage of Internet customers who have the fastest available speeds. Internet penetration
creates an environment in which the standard rises for acceptable Internet speed.
Also, with speed spikes approaching gigabyte Internet, more homes and businesses operate in a reality in which broadband strength can support many devices – and many data-heavy activities – at once.
Effect of increasing speeds and bandwidth
- SMART HOMES/24-7 CONNECTED HOMES | Smart homes come equipped with agents of the Internet of Things, from app-controlled thermostats to smart TVs and smart appliances. A higher average broadband speed will lend itself to more forms of connectivity.
- STREAMING SERVICES/ON DEMAND MOVIES | As average broadband speed increases, streaming service companies can offer more robust entertainment options, such as Netflix’s foray into Ultra-HD streaming.
- ADVERTISING | Online advertisers can include more data-rich content in online ads when viewers have the speed and bandwidth to support it. Advertisers could introduce more video-driven ad content – without causing page loads to stall – if speed thresholds continue to rise. Advertisers can make ads more interactive, personalized and engaging – but only if doing so doesn’t make the page load take ages. When pages take a long time to load, people bail on them. Advertisers don’t get impressions or click-throughs.
How fast is fast?
Internet service providers measure speed in Mbps – megabits per second. One megabit equals one billion bits of data. Speed’s determined by the number of megabits your connection can transmit in one second. More Internet speed doesn’t always equate to faster page loads, though.
Much depends on the remote server’s connection. Your home network speed won’t be able to speed up what the remote server is capable of; it’s on another host. Higher speed tiers don’t necessarily guarantee smoother streaming. However, more speed can
deliver higher quality settings and enhanced streaming.
How much speed do you need for common media-rich activities?
STREAMING MUSIC: 1.5Mbps
| It’s the lowest for music streaming services, such as Pandora or Spotify. You’ll need more for tunes with video …
STREAMING MUSIC WITH VIDEO: 3Mbps
| Why just listen to The Romantics’ Talking in Your Sleep
when you can watch the video, too? This speed will support standard quality videos. Now, if you like your videos in HD …
STREAMING MUSIC WITH HD VIDEO: 4-5Mbps
| Going HD with Gary Numan’s Cars or anything by Adele? You’ll need greater broadband strength to avoid buffering delays.
STREAMING A MOVIE: 5Mbps|
(the movie or TV series) with only a modest speed upgrade. (Note: streaming is more efficient than downloading an entire movie.)
GAMING ONLINE: 5-8Mbps |
Ping rate is just as crucial as speed for gamers. Ping refers to the reaction time of your connection. It’s a critical factor in determining whether your mad skills are enough to win. Check ping rate on a connection through any of several online tests, such as this one
Why the need for speed, when media-rich activity doesn’t appear to need much of it?
Homes with more than one user on multiple devices need more broadband strength to support it all. For a single user, there’s minimal strain on the connection. What if one user streams a movie while two more conduct a fantasy football draft in real time? And what if another person hops on Facebook?
You need to find a high-speed Internet provider and the right speed tier to keep up.
How can I test my Internet speed?
As with sites to test ping rate, plenty of places exist to check in on Internet speed. (Google has one
.) A test measures how much data can travel through your connection in a finite timeframe. It tests for both download and upload speed.
It also measures latency, or time it takes to receive a response from the server. Latency's measured in milliseconds. Low latency is best for gaming, videoconferencing and other high-data activity. No matter which state you live in, Internet speed matters. How much you’ll need depends on how you use it.