The global average connection speed increased by 26 percent to 7.0 Mbps in 2016, capped by a 12 percent increase in Q4, according to the Fourth Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report from Akamai.
The adoption rates for the various broadband tiers Akamai tracks were also strong over the past year, with 4 Mbps connections increasing 15 percent, and connections of 10, 15, and 25 Mbps all increasing between 31 and 45 percent year over year, respectively. Global and regional disparity remained similar to previous quarters, with average mobile connection speeds ranging from a high of 26.8 Mbps in the UK to 2.9 Mbps in Venezuela.
The number of countries with an average mobile speed of 10 Mbps or more grew from 24 to 30 in the quarter, while the number with 4 Mbps average mobile speed also increased by 6, to 58.
“Internet connection speeds continued to show positive long-term trends around the world, with particularly strong year-over-year increases across all broadband adoption metrics,” David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report said in a statement. “When Akamai first published the report in 2008, we defined ‘high broadband’ as 5 Mbps and above, which nine years ago had an adoption rate of 16 percent globally. We’re now seeing a 15 Mbps adoption rate of 25 percent worldwide. The upward trends are encouraging as businesses create and deliver even richer experiences for bigger audiences across the Internet, but accentuate the need for organizations to optimize those experiences for the myriad connected devices their customers are using.”
There were several major disruptions in internet traffic at the national level in the quarter, Akamai says. Internet traffic to the Bahamas dropped to roughly one-tench of normal levels during Hurricane Matthew in October. The Gambia lost all internet traffic on November 30, and following contentious national elections on December 1, traffic returned to normal on December 2. The Iraqi government blocked access on several dates to prevent cheating during middle and high school exams, in a continuation of a previously established policy. Traffic to Pakistan suddenly dropped in December, which Akamai attributes to technical issues at the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
Connections from unique IPv4 addresses decreased by 0.4 percent compared to Q4 2015, according to the report, and IPv4 allocation/assignment dropped from 16 million addresses in Q3 to only 6.4 million in Q4. Nearly half of content requests from Belgium (47 percent), the global leader in IPv6 adoption, came to Akamai over IPv6 in the quarter.
As in the third quarter, IPv6 traffic increased significantly in most countries, but striking changes were seen from Trinidad and Tobago, which leaped into the top 10 with 143 percent more IPv6 traffic than Q3, and India, which had 17 percent less IPv6 traffic than the previous quarter.