According to Akamai research, 4K internet speeds still need a lot of development

by on January 22, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 22, 2015

Internet research and services firm Akamai’s most recent quarterly State of the Internet report continues to paint a rather grim global picture for 4K-ready web connectivity, despite the advancements being made in some countries.

In addition to plotting the uptake of IPv6, which is vitally important for servicing the billions of new connected devices and machines that are slowly constructing the “Internet of Things”, the Akamai report has also examined the average internet speeds of various countries and found that many of them lag well behind the minimum requirements for streaming 4K media.

The data for the report was put together by gathering information from Akamai’s Intelligent Platform, which manages some two trillion different requests per day. This vast number of connection data requests is also makes Akamai particularly well positioned to see the broader patterns in global internet connectivity data as it emerges.

Thus, based on these patterns, the report looks as several factors including internet connection velocities, broadband adoption, attack traffic, IPv6 adoption and a wide number of other emerging trends on the web. This analysis covers both the wireless web and the world’s fixed connection infrastructure.

A number of Akamai’s findings from its most recent report paint a picture of connectivity that doesn’t yet look anywhere near ideal for the adoption of widespread streaming 4K media.

For starters, the fixed internet is seeing global average connection speeds that have dropped 2.8% to just 4.5 Mbps and global average peak connectivity has also fallen 2.3 % to just 24.8Mbps. Neither of these trends are good news and furthermore, both are surprising considering that both ISPs and digital media companies want to see faster internet connectivity spread across the board.

On the other hand, certain countries have kept high speed internet as a priority and the results show in their connection speed averages: South Korea is a world winner with the highest average connection speed at 25.3 Mbps and Hong Kong, can claim the highest average peak speeds at 84.6 Mbps.

As for global rates of broadband adoption, the spread of lines that offer more than 4Mbps grew by just 1% in the last quarter of 2014 to 60%. In this area, South Korea again dominates, with 96% broadband adoption, followed by Bulgaria at 95% and Switzerland at 93%.

As for the adoption of what Akamai calls “high broadband”, which offers 10Mbps or more of connectivity, a global drop in the number of connections offering this was noted, but it amounted to a decrease of just 0.5%, meaning that 23% of al internet connections still sit at or above 10Mbps.

Again here, South Korea dominated with 81% of its connections reaching 10Mbps or more, with Hong Kong in second place at 55%.

Streaming 4K media sources like Netflix require internet connections of at least 15Mbps and only 2.8% of the world's households can get this

Streaming 4K media sources like Netflix require internet connections of at least 15Mbps and only 2.8% of the world’s households can get this

Akamai also created a special “4K readiness” category for its report, in which it analyzed the percentage of worldwide connections that are actually capable of handling 4K streaming media. The criterion for this was the ability to consistently give users at least 15Mbps and in this category, worldwide 4K readiness is seriously lagging: Only 2.8% of all worldwide connections examined by Akamai were able to reach 15Mbps or more consistently. However, certain countries were notable exceptions: South Korea being a leader again with 66% of its connections being 4K ready, followed by Hong Kong at 37% and Japan at 33%.

However, while the overall percentage of 4K ready internet connections is disappointing, its growth rate worldwide looks promising. Akamai noted that only two markets –Taiwan and Japan—didn’t demonstrate double digit growth rates for new 4K capable web connections. Some markets even experienced incredible growth rates in this category; a notable example being Indonesia, which saw the number of 4K-ready internet connections that offer 15Mbps or more expand by a whopping 1468%.

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