The world's fastest Internet access—who's got it?

January 23, 2011: 6:00 AM ET

New research ranks the countries with the fastest Internet connections, and all 50 U.S. states too.

The speed at which people around the world connect to the Internet is climbing at a 14% annual clip and now averages nearly 2 megabits per second, according Akamai's "State of the Internet" report that is due out tomorrow.

There remain huge variations around that average speed. South Koreans hook into the Internet at 14 megabits a second, seven times the global average, earning them the top spot on Akamai's list:

The global Internet continues to grow bigger and faster at an impressive pace, the report's data show.  The number of devices hooked to the Internet climbed 20% in the last year (ended September 30), but it's the increases in speed that are the most eye-catching.

The Akamai data give a unique window into the rapidly evolving Internet. As the world's biggest "content delivery network," the company's servers blast out billions of webpages, iTunes songs, and videos daily, sending them to users of every major wired network and wireless network on the planet. That makes it easy to record how many bits the world's different networks can deliver in a second.

In one surprise, Russia took the top spot in mobile download speeds, with one wireless operator there getting average connection speeds of 6 megabits per second. (Akamai doesn't disclose which company it was.)  Still, sky-high wireless speeds often say as much about the crowding of the network as they do about the quality of the technology. After all, you can go faster on a traffic-free county highway than you can on the Autobahn at rush hour.

In some places like South Korea, average speeds have declined because more people are accessing the web from mobile devices.  (Wireless download speeds are climbing, but will always lag fiber-optic connections.)

In the U.S., Delaware remained atop the list, aided by its population density and competitive market. Over 97% of Internet connections in Delaware now exceed 2 megabits per second. Average speeds are 7.1 megabits per second, meaning if Delaware were a country it would edge out Romania as the world's fourth fastest.

Here's a list of all 50 U.S. states:

STATE Avg Kbps Avg Mbps
1 DELAWARE 7145.8376 7.1
2 UTAH 6412.2288 6.4
3 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 6407.6024 6.4
4 RHODE ISLAND 6297.0088 6.3
5 VERMONT 6151.1512 6.2
6 NEW HAMPSHIRE 6066.608 6.1
7 MASSACHUSETTS 5937.2 5.9
8 CALIFORNIA 5799.2384 5.8
9 NEVADA 5603.4288 5.6
10 MINNESOTA 5504.8216 5.5
11 NEW YORK 5502.9464 5.5
12 WASHINGTON 5496.9112 5.5
13 INDIANA 5470.1712 5.5
14 CONNECTICUT 5449.7456 5.4
15 MAINE 5448.7496 5.4
16 WISCONSIN 5411.5744 5.4
17 MICHIGAN 5404.8072 5.4
18 VIRGINIA 5346.4 5.3
19 MARYLAND 5326.0992 5.3
20 HAWAII 5302.932 5.3
21 NEW JERSEY 5208.2856 5.2
22 OKLAHOMA 5066.2792 5.1
23 TEXAS 4944.2048 4.9
24 OREGON 4796.872 4.8
25 PENNSYLVANIA 4786.2192 4.8
26 NORTH CAROLINA 4763.5264 4.8
27 ILLINOIS 4740.6904 4.7
28 SOUTH CAROLINA 4719.2872 4.7
29 NORTH DAKOTA 4692.9768 4.7
30 GEORGIA 4640.5584 4.6
31 FLORIDA 4514.7456 4.5
32 NEBRASKA 4448.5664 4.4
33 COLORADO 4444.2864 4.4
34 SOUTH DAKOTA 4440.38 4.4
35 TENNESSEE 4393.0232 4.4
36 WEST VIRGINIA 4287.924 4.3
37 ARIZONA 4283.3328 4.3
38 KANSAS 4241.9584 4.2
39 NEW MEXICO 4091.196 4.1
40 OHIO 4068.3528 4.1
41 ALABAMA 3961.3192 4.0
42 IOWA 3871.6296 3.9
43 MONTANA 3792.3872 3.8
44 MISSOURI 3761.4776 3.8
45 LOUISIANA 3663.1864 3.7
46 WYOMING 3632.1576 3.6
47 KENTUCKY 3543.1864 3.5
48 MISSISSIPPI 3511.732 3.5
49 IDAHO 3456.7408 3.5
50 ALASKA 3159.896 3.2
51 ARKANSAS 3002.9536 3.0
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About This Author
Sophie Wade
Sophie Wade

Sophie Wade is founder and CEO of Flexcel Network, LLC, which provides flex-focused placement services for entrepreneurs and growth companies. Sophie writes and speaks regularly about flexible work and employment issues. She has an MA from Oxford University in Chinese and an MBA from INSEAD.

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