15% of worldwide broadband connections are now 4K Ready and the global average speed is 5.1Mbps

by on December 21, 2015

Stephan Jukic – December 21, 2015

Universal broadband access across the world may have been a UN goal for the year 2015 but reality hasn’t quite caught up to ideals yet it seems.

Instead, the average global broadband speed across the world has now reached a point where it sits at 5.1 Mbps with 65% of all worldwide connections being higher than 4 Mbps, according to research by Akamai. While these numbers are also certainly not bad news on the whole, they’re not quite at the level that many would prefer, not least of them those who provide much of the world’s digital media content to their customers and would love to expand their market base.

On the other hand, the global average broadband speed has indeed increased in recent years and has grown by a hefty 14% over just the last year, from this same date in 2014. These are just some of the findings encountered by Akamai in their Third quarter state of the internet report.

Currently, South Korea is the country with the fastest average broadband connection speeds, with speeds of a hefty 20.5 Mbps.

Closely behind South Korea follow Sweden and Norway, with average speeds of 17.4 and 16.4 Mbps respectively. The rest of the countries on Akamai’s “top 10” list of countries with the highest connections represent mostly European and Asian states, including Switzerland, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Japan, Finalnd and the Czech Republic. The minimal broadband connectivity on this list sits at 14.5 Mbps for the Czech Republic.

Norway is the country which has made the biggest gains in connectivity, with a 44% growth in the last year. Sweden and Finland, which are also Nordic European states, have also made massive gains in this same time-frame.

On the other hand, many countries also lag well below the global average in terms of connectivity, with Azerbaijan and Syria being the worst offenders with broadband speeds of 3.2 and 1.2 Mbps respectively (though we can possibly excuse the lack of growth in Syria’s case, given it’s long running and brutal civil war).

As for the U.S, it sits well above the average and has seen some very robust across-the-board improvements in the last year, with 44 of 50 states enjoying connectivity averages of more than 10 Mbps and a certain percentage of these states even having widespread internet connectivity speeds of above 15Mbps, which would make them 4K Ready and thus usable for 4K steamed content on 4K ultra HD TVs or PC monitors even.

4K UHD TVs depend on high speed broadband connectivity for their streaming ultra HD media apps to deliver content

Other good news (which could however still be better) is that about 15% of all broadband internet connections in the world are now also 4K Ready. This statistic does however have a silver lining in the fact that this level of connectivity has grown by a hefty 21% in the last year alone.

For an internet connection to be considered 4K Ready, and thus capable of streaming 4K ultra HD content from sources like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video or BT Sport (for European consumers), connectivity has to reach at least 15 to 20 Mbps consistently. Some services even allow for connectivity speeds as low at 10 Mbps.

On the other hand, there are also truly unique and interesting developments for even wider global connectivity improvements on the horizon. These include Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s drone-based wireless internet distribution plans. Google in particular is already at work with Project Loon developments in countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

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