South Korea tops for broadband speeds as NZ struggles to keep pace

NZ broadband speeds are continuing to creep up—but we've still got a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world.

Broadband connection speedsThe speed of New Zealand broadband is creeping up, Akamai’s State of the Internet report shows—but we've still got a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world.

Akamai, a provider of cloud optimisation services, released its latest quarterly study yesterday based on data gathered from its internet platform, which carries between 15-30 percent of the world’s web traffic at any one time.

Now in its fourth year, the survey indicates Kiwis are browsing at an average connection speed of 3.5Mbps (up from just over 2Mbps in 2008) and a peak speed of 13.7Mbps. Our Australian neighbours clock in with a slightly lower average connection speed of 3.4 Mbps but peak speeds of 14.7 Mbps.

Three-quarters of us have speeds faster than 2Mbps while 4.5 percent are running below 256k.

In comparison, our US counterparts enjoy average connections of 5.3Mbps, although that pales beside South Korea's 14.4 Mbps, the highest in the world.

Browsing speedsSouth Korea is also the country with the highest level of “high broadband” (5+ Mbps) connectivity at 60 percent.

According to Akamai, after remaining flat in the fourth quarter of 2010, the global average connection speed grew nearly 10 percent to just over 2 Mbps.

The top 100 fastest cities around the world were dominated by Asia, including 61 cities in Japan and five cities in South Korea. Tokai, Shimotsuma, and Kanagawa in Japan topped the list with average connection speeds of 13.2, 12.9, and 12.2 Mbps respectively.

Consistent with last quarter’s report, the top 10 regions accounted for nearly 70 percent of all IP addresses. Italy joined the top 10 with 13 million addresses, bumping Canada off.

The US is still number one in that regard with 142.6 million unique IP addresses; we recorded 1.5 million.

Mobile tech

Akamai has teamed up with Ericsson and now includes data collected by the equipment provider in its report. Overall mobile data traffic, as measured by Ericsson, experienced huge yearly growth in the first quarter—130 percent—and is now more than double the volume of voice traffic.

Mobile usage

In the first quarter of 2011, average measured connection speeds for known mobile providers worldwide varied widely, from a high of slightly more than 6 Mbps to a low of 163 kbps.

New Zealand falls at the lower end of that scale with 1.4Mbps, with Australia not far ahead at 1.6Mbps.

A Polish provider delivered the highest average mobile connection speed, nudging last quarter’s fastest provider from Greece to the number two spot. 

Other conclusions from the report on mobile use include:

  • Online video is the largest contributor to traffic volumes (30-40 percent), followed by web browsing (20 to 30 percent)
  • Laptops are used for fewer but longer sessions, mainly during the daytime and evening
  • Tablet and smartphones are used frequently throughout the day for shorter sessions
  • On tablets and smartphones, online audio, e-mail, software downloads, and social networking traffic are big consumers of 3G data traffic
  • Tablet traffic patterns over 3G mobile networks are much closer to smartphone traffic patterns than to laptop traffic patterns

You can download the report in full, or alternatively, Akamai has also released a fun visualisation tool, which lets users generate graphs based on metrics, timeframes and regions to compare data from the study.

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