The average U.S. broadband connection was 5.8 Mbps for second quarter 2011, according to new data from Akamai—an increase of 9% from 5.3 Mbps just one quarter earlier and an increase of 26% over the same period in 2010.

The U.S. now ranks 12th globally in average broadband connection speed, behind several Asian and European countries, according to Akamai’s new State of the Internet Report, issued today.

For the first time in many quarters, Delaware was not the state with the highest average connection speed, according to Akamai. That honor now goes to Rhode Island, where the average connection speed was 8.2 Mbps, barely edging out Delaware, where the average connection speed was 8.1 Mbps.

As usual, eastern states dominated Akamai’s Top 10 list, with Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia—in addition to Rhode Island and Delaware–measuring average broadband connection speeds of 6.4 Mbps or higher. Two western states—Utah and California—retained positions in the Top 10, measuring average speeds of 7.0 Mbps and 6.7 Mbps respectively. New to the Top 10 list was another western state—Washington—which had an average connection speed of 6.5 Mbps.

Unlike in other recent quarters, there were no centrally-located states on the latest Akamai Top 10 list. Two centrally-located states that were on Akamai’s Top 10 list for the first quarter of 2011– Indiana and Wisconsin–fell off the second quarter list.

A similar phenomenon occurred on the Top 10 list of U.S. cities, ranked by average connection speed. All of these were on the east or west coast for second quarter 2011, with centrally-located Traverse City, Mich. dropping off the list.

San Jose, Calif. earned the distinction of having the fastest connection speed of all U.S. cities, measuring an average of 13.7 Mbps for second quarter 2011. It now has a substantial edge over the Number 2, 3, and 4 cities—Fredericksburg, Virg.; Monterey Park, Calif. and Fremont, Calif., which measured average connection speeds of 8.5 Mbps, 8.2 Mbps and 8.2 Mbps respectively.

The previous Number 1 city—Riverside, Calif.—came in at Number 8, with an average connection speed of 7.5 Mbps.

Other cities in the Top 10 included Staten Island, N.Y.; Columbia, Md.; Jersey City, N.J.; Oakland, Calif. and Fairfield, Calif. All cities in the Top 10 had average connection speeds of 7.3 Mbps or higher.

Akamai’s data is gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, which serves as much as 30% of the world’s Web traffic at any one time, the company said.

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