The average Internet connection speed in the U.S. was 5.1 Mb/s for the fourth quarter of 2010—an increase of 9.2% over the same period a year earlier, according to data released this week from Akamai.  The percentage of U.S. Internet users connecting at speeds above 5 Mb/s also rose. That number is now 36%–up 12% from 2009.

Akamai has been publishing its State of the Internet report on a quarterly basis for several years—and over that time, eastern states have consistently had higher broadband adoption rates, as well as higher average connection speeds. That still holds true, but is gradually beginning to change.

For fourth quarter 2010, Delaware once again had the highest percentage of people connecting to the Internet at speeds above 2 Mb/s. That number came in at 97%, down half a percent from the same quarter of 2009. Also in the top 10 were seven other eastern states, including Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, New York, New Jersey and Vermont. The only two non-eastern states in the top 10 were Hawaii and Nevada. All of the states in the top 10 had 81% or more of Internet users connecting at speeds of 2 Mb/s or higher.

Delaware also had the highest average connection speed for fourth quarter 2010, at 7.2 Mb/s, but that number actually decreased 6% from the same period in 2009. Also among the top 10 states for average connection speed were four other eastern states–Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia. But unlike in some previous quarters, four non-eastern states—Utah, California, Nevada and Indiana—were also in the top 10. All of the top 10 states had average connection speeds of 5.6 Mb/s or more.

When average connection speeds were compared on a city-by-city basis, however, the East lost is dominance. Instead, California dominated the rankings, with Riverside coming in at Number 1 with an average connection speed of 7.58 Mb/s. Other California cities in the top 10 were Fremont, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and San Mateo. Outside California, other cities in the top 10 were Staten Island, N.Y.; Boston Metro; Jersey City, N.J.; Traverse City, Mich.; and Hollywood, Fla. All cities in the top 10 had average connection speeds of 6.35 Mb/s or higher.




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