Connection speeds are on the up in first quarter of 2017

07 July 2017

Akamai Technologies’ first quarter 2017 State of the Internet Report is based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform

The report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics, notable Internet disruptions, IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation.

"Increases in connection speeds and broadband penetration have helped enable the internet to support levels of traffic that even just a few years ago would have been unimaginable," said David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. 

"One need only look to January’s US Presidential Inauguration, which broke traffic records for live coverage of a single news event delivered by Akamai, largely thanks to the combination of more viewers watching at increasingly higher levels of video quality."

Internet connectivity

Akamai saw a 0.9% quarterly increase in the number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform, rising to just over 814 million, about 7.6 million more than in the fourth quarter of 2016. About 5 million IPv4 addresses were depleted from available pools at the regional internet registries in the first quarter, leaving 39 million addresses remaining. Belgium remained the clear global leader in IPv6 adoption with 38% of its connections to Akamai for dual-stacked content over IPv6, down 19% from the previous quarter. 

Top 20 network providers

In the ranking of top 20 network providers ordered by the number of IPv6 requests made to Akamai during the first quarter, once again, cable and wireless/mobile providers continued to drive the largest volumes of IPv6 requests, as many are leading the way for IPv6 adoption in their respective countries. 

In the first quarter of 2017, T-Mobile US caught up with Verizon Wireless to share the lead in adoption rates, as both providers had 82% of their requests to Akamai being made over IPv6, up from 77% and 81% respectively in the fourth quarter. 

Sixteen of the top twenty providers had at least one in four requests for dual-stacked content to Akamai take place over 

IPv6 down from 17 providers in the fourth quarter. 

All but one of the top 20 had at least 15% of dual-stack content requests to Akamai occur over IPv6. First-quarter news announcements reflected the leadership role mobile carriers are continuing to play in IPv6 adoption. 

In Japan, three major mobile carriers – NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank  – revealed they would start full IPv6 services in 2017. 

In the US, Verizon Wireless informed customers that beginning on 30 June 2017, it would cease to issue new IPv4 addresses. From that point forward, Verizon customers requesting new static public IPP addresses were issued IPv6 addresses only. 

Broadband adoption 

Globally, 4Mbps broadband adoption was 82% in the first quarter, up 3.3% from the previous quarter, with Guernsey and South Korea seeing the highest levels of adoption worldwide at 98% each. 

The worldwide 10Mbps, 15Mbps and 25Mbps broadband adoption rates all saw robust quarter-over-quarter growth, increasing 9%, 11% and 16% to adoption levels of 45%, 28%, and 12%, respectively. 

South Korea continued to lead in all three broadband tiers, with adoption rates of 85%, 69% and 40% respectively, after quarterly increases of 3.1%, 7.8% and 16%. 

Five European countries featured in global Top 10 country/region listing for 25Mbps broadband adoption: Norway (number 2), Sweden (number 3), Swit- zerland (number 5), Denmark (number 6) and Finland (number 9). Switzerland posted the largest quarterly gain at 5.6%, followed by Finland at 2.1%. 

With an adoption rate of 75%, Switzerland retained the top spot among surveyed European countries for 10Mbps adoption. 

Overall, 18 European countries had at least half of their unique IPv4 addresses connecting to Akamai at average speeds of 10Mbps or higher. 

Quarter-over-quarter gains were observed in 25 European countries; these increases ranged from 0.4% in Lithuania, Slovenia and the Czech Republic to 19% in Greece. 

Connection speeds

The global average connection speed increased 2.3% quarter-over-quarter to 7.2Mbps, a 15% increase compared with one year prior. At a country/region level, South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed in the world at 28.6Mbps – a 9.3% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, and Singapore maintained its position as the country with the highest average peak connection speed at 184.5Mbps. 

Presidential inauguration

On 20 January, during the US presidential inauguration, traffic delivered by Akamai for its media and entertainment customers peaked at 8.7Tbps. 

The peak occurred at 17:04 UTC, during the opening of the president’s speech, and marked the largest live-streamed news event Akamai had delivered to date. The previous record of 7.5Tbps occurred on 8 November 2016 during the presidential election; the UEFA football final on 10 July 2016 saw a peak of 7.3Tbps.

Akamai saw a sustained increase in traffic to US retail customers on inaugur-ation day. Traffic levels were about 20% higher than on the previous two days.

Mobile connectivity

Average mobile connection speeds aggregated at a country/region level in the first quarter of 2017 ranged from a high of 26Mbps in the UK to a low of 2.8Mbps in Venezuela. Based on traffic data collected by Ericsson, the volume of mobile data traffic grew by nearly 12% over the previous quarter.

In Europe, the UK had the fastest average connection speed again at 26Mbps, closely followed by Germany at 24.1Mbps. Among the qualifying surveyed countries/regions in Europe, 19 had an average mobile connection speed at or exceeding 10Mbps. 

Topics: Akamai Technologies, Internet report 2017, Capacity media