Which cities have the fastest broadband?

Eighteen U.S. cities rank in the top 100 for having the world’s fastest internet connection speeds, yet huge disparities remain regarding U.S. broadband speeds, with Midwestern rural communities facing the biggest availability challenges, according to two recently released reports.

Riverside, Calif. was the fastest U.S. city, ranking 39th globally, according to quarterly "State of the Internet" report by cloud optimization services provider Akamai Technologies. Most of the world’s fastest cities were in Asia, with 61 in Japan, and five in South Korea and Hong Kong.

The three fastest U.S. cities noted by Akamai — Riverside, Staten Island, N.Y. and San Jose, Calif. — had an average broadband speed of 7.8 megabits/sec.


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The three fastest cities in the world — Tokai, Shimotsuma and Kangawa, all located in Japan — had average connection speeds of 13.2 megabits/sec, 12.9 megabits/sec, and 12.2 megabits/sec, respectively. Average peak connection speed in the United States increased 95 percent from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2011.

Rounding out the 10 fastest U.S. cities were Fremont, Calif. (57th, at 7.4 megabits/sec); Boston Metro area (62nd, at 7.1 megabits/sec); Jersey City, N.J. (73rd, at 6.8 megabits/sec); Marietta, Ga. (75th, at 6.7 megabits/sec); Anaheim, Calif. (76th, also at 6.7 megabits/sec); Traverse City, Mich. (78th, at 6.6 megabits/sec); and Hollywood, Fla. (80th, at 6.6 megabits/sec).

In the past three years, the number of unique IPv4 addresses seen by Akamai grew by 80 percent, from 323 million to 584 million. Internet traffic grew by 20 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. However, the same report found that the top 10 countries/regions using the Internet accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total IP addresses.

Between 15 and 30 percent of the world’s Web traffic travels on Akamai’s Internet platform, the company said.

Not every community in the United States has access to fast broadband, however. Content delivery provider Pando Networks’ report found some areas had connectivity speeds 10 times faster than others.

The study tracked downloads by 4 million users from January to June 2011. Rhode Island had the fastest speeds with an average of 894 kilobits/sec, almost three times faster than Idaho, the slowest at 318 kilobits/sec. (Akamai found Delaware to have the fastest broadband connection speed at an average of 7.5 megabits/sec, followed by Rhode Island at 6.8 megabits/sec). The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions contained eight of the 10 fastest states, while the rural Midwest and Mountain West accounted for nine of the 10 slowest.

At the city level, Pando Networks’ report found that Andover, Mass., a suburb of Boston, had the fastest download speeds, averaging 2,801 kilobits/sec. Pocatello, a small community in Idaho, had the slowest.

Of the major Internet service providers, Comcast Cable provided the fastest service, with average download speeds of 890 kilobits/sec. Road Runner was the slowest at 673 kilobits/sec. Among wireless providers, AT&T came in first, with an average of 416 kilobits/sec, and Sprint second a 391 kilobits/sec. Alltel was the slowest at 155 kilobits/sec.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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