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Akamai: Connection speed boost for video content

Content delivery network services specialist Akamai’s latest State of the Internet Report – which provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics and notable Internet disruptions – finds that global average connection speed increased 17 per cent year-over-year; in Europe, Sweden led at 16.1 Mbps. The global average peak connection speed reached 32.5 Mbps; in Europe, Romania heads the pack at 72.1 Mbps.

“We continued to see healthy increases in key connection speed metrics, particularly on a year-over-year basis,” said David Belson, editor of the report. “The improvement in connection speeds is vital as more content, not the least of which is video at increasingly higher levels of quality, is being delivered over the Internet. Ongoing progress and innovation in these areas, as evidenced in the report, will play a key role in helping address consumer demand for access to content where and when they want it.”

Highlights from Akamai’s Second Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet Report:

Average and Peak Connection Speeds:

The global average connection speed increased 3.5 per cent to 5.1 Mbps in the second quarter of 2015. Quarterly changes were positive for the top 10 countries/regions, with the exception of South Korea (23.1 Mbps), which decreased 2.1 per cent from the first quarter. The quarter saw seven European countries feature in the global top 10 countries/regions listing: Sweden (#4), Switzerland (#5), the Netherlands (#6), Norway (#7), Latvia (#8), Finland (#9) and Czech Republic (#10).

All European countries surveyed in the second quarter again achieved average connection speeds above the 4 Mbps broadband threshold, with 17 countries in total achieving average connection speeds at or above the 10 Mbps threshold (Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Romania, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland). As a consequence of the revised calculations, Sweden regained the top spot with a 16.1 Mbps average connection speed, up 1.6 per cent from the first quarter.

Year-over-year changes in average connection speeds were again consistently positive for Europe, pointing to continued improvements in Internet connectivity within surveyed countries. Norway posted the largest gain at 38 per cent while a further six countries saw gains of at least 20 per cent: Slovakia (34 per cent), Portugal (31 per cent), Finland (27 per cent), Poland (25 per cent), Spain (22 per cent), and Germany (21 per cent).

In the second quarter of 2015, global average peak connection speeds increased 12 per cent to 32.5 Mbps. In Europe, nine countries saw quarterly declines which ranged from 0.2 per cent in Slovakia to 3.7 per cent in Norway, while increases among other European countries ranged from 0.5 per cent in Finland to 7.1 per cent in Belgium. Nine of the European countries surveyed had average peak connection speeds of at least 50 Mbps, with Romania holding onto its first quarter leader spot with an average peak connection speed of 72.1 Mbps.

Year-over-year changes for the European countries surveyed were all positive. Norway achieved the largest year-over-year growth, with an increase of 34 per cent over the previous year, with the remaining European countries posting gains ranging from 4.1 per cent (Austria) to 31 per cent (Finland).

Broadband Connectivity:

Last quarter, the State of the Internet reported for the first time on the percentage of IP addresses connecting to Akamai at average speeds of above 25 Mbps, the new benchmark broadband speed adopted by the US Federal Communications Commission in January 2015. Globally, 4.9 per cent of unique IP addresses connected to Akamai at average speeds of at least 25 Mbps, a 7.5 per cent increase over the previous quarter. Despite a 5.5 per cent quarterly decline to a rate of 29 per cent, South Korea again led the world in 25 Mbps broadband adoption.

The second quarter of 2015 saw seven European countries make an appearance in the top 10 country/region listing for 25 Mbps adoption; Sweden (#4) headed up the European contingent with a 15 per cent adoption rate, followed by Latvia (#5), Switzerland (#6), Lithuania (#7), Norway (#8), Finland (#9) and the Netherlands (#10). Year-over-year gains ranged from a mere 0.8 per cent in Latvia to a sizeable 133 per cent in Lithuania – the only country in the top 10 global list to see adoption rates more than double compared with the previous year.

As with previous quarters, the second quarter saw a number of announcements underscoring the continued growth of fast broadband connectivity in Europe. In Ireland, the broadband provider Eircom announced a €2.5 billion infrastructure investment to deploy gigabit-speed services across the country – including hard-to-reach rural communities. In the United Kingdom, the government stated its Broadband Delivery UK programme had enabled an additional 2.5 million premises to achieve broadband levels of at least 24 Mbps. Meanwhile, in June, Virgin Media announced the expansion of its 152 Mbps broadband services to 150,000 new homes in Manchester; the expansion is part of Virgin Media’s ‘Project Lightening’ programme that ultimately expects to bring high-speed cable broadband to an additional 4 million UK homes in the next five years.

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