4K Readiness is Growing as Broadband Connectivity Explodes Worldwide

by on October 6, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – October 6, 2014

As 4K Ultra HD grows ever faster as a technology of major interest to both public consumers and major media/entertainment and electronics corporations, the global rate of readiness for truly enjoying the technology is also expanding at a very fast pace.

What we’re referring to here more than anything is the increasing size of the kind of broadband connectivity that allows for full capacity to enjoy 4k Ultra HD streams without interruptions and glitches.

These speeds, with current 4K signal compression technologies like HVEC in use, need to be of at least 10 to 20 Mbps and what we’re seeing on a worldwide level is the growth of this kind of connectivity at a rate of 98% per year; that is to say a near doubling of 4K capable internet connections per year.

According to a recent Second Quarter 2014 “State of the Internet” report by Akamai technologies, yearly increases, as determined by bandwidth speeds, were seen across all of the major qualifying countries and regions of the world. This points towards a major and ongoing trend in constant connectivity improvement on a worldwide scale.

Even if some of these countries and regions haven’t yet reached the 15Mbps threshold they’re at least demonstrating consistent and ever expanding increases that will soon lead to a high degree of connectivity.

Furthermore, according to the Akamai report, 4K readiness in five countries in particular more than doubled in 2014. Romania was the European leader among these, with a 281% increase in connectivity good enough for Ultra HD streaming. However, the rates of improvement in some of the world’s developing markets were the most impressive of all.

Uruguay took the cake here, seeing a whopping 30,000% growth rate in 4K capable connectivity between 2013 and 2014, bringing the country’s rate of penetration to 3.9%. Following well behind but still impressive were Kazakhstan and Argentina at a 1000% increase from the previous year to now. In Kazakhstan, this brought total 4K penetration to 3.3% and in Argentina to a penetration percentage of 1.5%.

While these overall penetration figures are indeed rather low still, the annual growth rates do not show any indications of slowing soon and should quickly increase those overall 4K connectivity penetration rates to much larger levels.

The Akamai report further goes on to explain that as of the second quarter of 2014, the majority of European countries had more than 10% of their internet connections at or above the 10 to 20 Mbps connectivity levels needed for Ultra HD.

The top three states for overall penetration in Europe were Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, each of which has at least a quarter of their connections to the web capable of giving consumers between 10 and 20Mbps. Among the three, Switzerland is the winner at a 4K capable connectivity penetration of 33%.

Portugal and Rumania saw their 4K readiness rates more than double between quarters and Romania more than doubled overall 4K readiness to 22% between 2013 and 2014.

On a worldwide level, the Akamai report indicates that 12% of connections (of those being monitored by the company itself) offered speeds of 15Mbps or more in the second quarter of 2014 and that this represents an increase of 17% from the first quarter of the year.

Currently, the country with the highest overall penetration of 4K ready internet in the world is South Korea, in which 62% of all internet connections offer more than 10Mbps.

South Korea has the world's greatest level of 4K ready internet penetration at 62%

South Korea has the world’s greatest level of 4K ready internet penetration at 62%

Finally, the global average connection speed itself grew by an amazing 21% in just the two first measured quarters of 2014.

These figures paint an extremely bright picture for the future of 4K technology and will particularly benefit 4K streaming media like games, movies, TV shows and the 4K broadcast services that are already developing at an accelerated pace.

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