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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

U.S. 26th Worldwide, South Dakota 15th Nationwide in Download Speed

  • Today's global download speed average: 7.71 Mbps.
  • My breakfast download speed in the heart of America: 0.98 Mbps.
Ookla releases data on broadband speeds worldwide, derived from its SpeedTest.net service. The ten countries with the fastest Internet (speeds in Mbps):
  1. South Korea (34.18)
  2. Latvia (24.43)
  3. Moldova (21.76)
  4. Japan (20.56)
  5. Sweden (20.09)
  6. Åland Islands (19.85—real place! citizenship requirement: add cool accent marks to your name)
  7. Romania (18.63)
  8. Lithuania (18.04)
  9. Bulgaria (17.67)
  10. Netherlands (17.25)
What, no U.S.A.? We're 27th, at 10.16 Mbps. how is it we invent the Internet only to see 25 countries make better, faster use of it?

Now the gap isn't just because we're such a big country with hard to reach places. Rural states do drag the average down: Web is slowest in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. But our fastest city, San José, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is 17th among metros worldwide, with a speed of 15.17 Mbps. Even where we'd expect serious American zoom-zoom Internet, we still lag places like Seoul, Hamburg, Bucharest, and Sofia.

South Dakota does beat the national average: our average download speed is 10.67 Mbps (I'm getting a tenth of that). Ranking 15th nationwide, we beat the pants off North Dakota, which pulls files in at 7.66 Mbps, and oh-so-urbane Iowa at 7.45. Minnesota is the only neighbor that gets files faster, at 11.56 Mbps.

Some critics have pointed out Ookla's data is not scientific: Ookla takes averages from SpeedTest.net users. Those users are all voluntary, so it's not a random or representative sample of all users in each region. That self-selected sample may skew the average higher: SpeedTest.net users may tend to be techies who know about the service and are interested enough in computer's Web performance to test it.


  1. I'm getting about the same results as you do, Cory, so I really wonder where these download speed figures come from.

    This morning I noticed that my upload speed has tripled in the last couple of months, from around 400 kbps to 1200 kbps.

    I don't feel cramped for speed just yet, but then, I forgo all those fancy flash bandwidth-hogger plugins. Lean and mean, that's my system.

  2. I can't complain much either, Stan. Hulu comes in a bit jerky, but Netflix streams rather well here at the lake, and that's probably the most bandwidth-intense application I do. Hooray for text!


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