Internet connection speeds in the USA have tripled in three and a half years to keep up with demands for streaming and downloading video, but the States is still behind many other countries.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a report (Measuring Broadband America) on Wednesday which claimed that download connection speeds had on average increased to almost 31 Mbps in September 2014, rising from 10 Mbps in March 2011.
The increase in Internet speeds has largely been driven by customers’ increased use of bandwidth for streaming movies, video games and other downloads.
Meanwhile, the industry is trying hard to increase speeds across the nation. Google offers up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) in many cities (nine at present count) while mobile operator AT&T offers the same speed in twenty cities and says it will add 36 more metropolitan areas in 2016.
Comcast also said it’s testing a 1,000 Mbps service in Philadelphia which will be rolled out to other areas by the end of 2016.
The FCC’s report says that video makes up over 60 percent of Internet traffic in the US, and figure which is expected to rise to around 80 percent by 2019.
However, the United States ranked a meagre 25th out of 39 nations in 2013 according to the FCC. That is well behind many countries including France, Canada, Germany and Japan. Though it does beat Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Israel. The fastest overall in those countries included was Luxembourg with average download speeds of 47.32 Mbps.
The report also said that out of the major Internet Service Providers, Cablevision Systems Corp led with average download speeds of 60 Mbps, followed by Verizon Communications Inc and Charter Communications Inc each with about 50 Mbps. Cox Communications then follows at 40 Mbps, with Comcast languishing with just 35 Mbps.
In January 2015, the FCC redefined its benchmark broadband speeds to 25 Mbps for download, up from the previous 4 Mbps set in 2010.
“Advances in network technology are yielding significant improvements in broadband speeds and quality”, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “Faster, better broadband will unleash new innovations and new services to improve the lives of the American people”.
Of all the US states, New Jersey had the fastest average download speed at 57 Mbps, with Idaho coming in last place with just 14 Mbps.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.