akamai+broadbandThe average U.S. Internet connection speed was 6.7 Mbps in the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest Akamai “State of the Internet Report.” That’s a jump of 17% over the previous quarter, when the average connection speed appeared to have stalled at 5.8 Mbps.

Based on Akamai’s data, the U.S. now ranks twelfth worldwide in average Internet interconnection speed.

Delaware once again had the highest average connection speed of U.S. states, measuring an average connection speed of 10.2 Mbps in the first quarter of 2012, according to Akamai. Seven of the other states in the Top 10 also were in the eastern U.S. – including New Hampshire, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland.

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The only non-Eastern states in the Top 10 were Utah and Washington.

All states in the Top 10 had average connection speeds of 7.9 Mbps or higher. Here, too, gains were substantial, with all states in the Top 10 seeing growth of 14% or more in average connection speed since the previous quarter.

Akamai also noted that 60% of U.S. Internet connections were made at rates exceeding 4 Mbps – a jump of 9.4% over the previous quarter and 19% over the same period a year earlier.

This was the first Akamai report to track that number. In the past the company looked at the percentage of connections that exceeded 2 Mbps or higher. “We are revising the definition with a 4 Mbps threshold,” wrote the report author David Belson in an introductory letter to the report. “This brings it into line with the definition used as part of the United States National Broadband Plan, as well as with target speeds in the European Union and China.”

Beginning with the first quarter of 2012, the report also tracks the percentage of connections at speeds of 10 Mbps or higher.

“Many countries and regions (such as the European Union) have longer-term connection speed targets in the tens or hundreds of Mbps,” wrote Belson.

In the first quarter of 2012, 15% of U.S. Internet connections were made at speeds of 10 Mbps or higher—up 50% over the previous quarter and nearly double (95%) in comparison with the previous year. The U.S. ranked tenth worldwide when measured by that metric.

Also beginning with the current report, Akamai will no longer be tracking Internet connections on a city-by-city basis.

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