A new report on the state of the Internet shows that Ecuador leads all Latin American countries in peak connectivity rate. Other leaders in Latin America are Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.
The new report comes from a quarterly "State of the Internet" study done by Akamai, a leading provider of cloud services for online content that has servers close to users around the globe, giving the company a good position to view and rank network speeds across the world.
The "State of the Internet" report for the third quarter of 2013 found that global average network connection speeds increased by 10 percent, with a continuing rapid growth in mobile data use as well, according to ZDNet. Akamai also found continuing growth in both high-speed and medium-speed broadband globally, along with a small decrease in the number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks throughout the world.
"In the third quarter of 2013, we observed that long-term growth in average and average peak connection speeds remained strong, as did growth in global broadband and high broadband adoption rates. We believe these trends point to continued improvement in the quality and performance of Internet connectivity in countries around the world," said David Belson, the report's editor, in a release.
The global average connection speed climbed 10 percent over the previous quarter to about 3.6 Mbps. Year to year, the average connection speed for the top 10 countries or regions climbed 27 percent or more. Some regions experienced dramatic changes over one quarter and over the full year, like a 76 percent increase in broadband speed in Nepal over the second quarter in 2013, or a 259 percent increase over the year in Réunion, a small island in the Indian Ocean.
Global high-speed broadband (more than 10 Mbps) adoption rose 31 percent over the second quarter, reaching 19 percent, while medium-speed broadband (greater than 4 Mpbs) reached a total of 53 percent of the world, climbing 5.8 percent from quarter to quarter.
The U.S., Canada, and Grenada were the only countries in the Americas to have average broadband connection speeds of 4 Mbps or more, continuing a trend of the U.S. trailing behind other industrialized countries in Asia and Europe. The U.S. still doesn't qualify as having high-speed broadband, defined as 10 Mpbs or more on average, according to BNAmericas, though it came close with 9.8 Mpbs in the Akamai study.
Broadband adoption the U.S. was at about 70 percent as of May 2013, according to Pew, but home broadband availability and affordability for many Latinos in the U.S. continues to shape a digital divide between the internet haves and have-nots, with only 53 percent of Latinos in the U.S. having home broadband connections. Akamai's report does indicate positive change, with greater broadband speed and adoption as the U.S. rose 31 percent on average over the year to eighth place in the world. However, super high-speed internet adoption in small markets covered by Google Fiber and Verizon Fios made up a significant part of the U.S. uptrend in average speed, skewing the overall picture somewhat.
As far as Latin American countries covered in the study, Chile appears to have grown the most in average connection speed, topping out at 3.3 Mbps on average. That's a growth over last year of 53 percent, and a quarterly growth of 23 percent.
Other Latin American countries whose broadband connectivity increased significantly include Argentina, which boosted its average speed by 40 percent over last quarter and 33 percent on a yearly average. Venezuela's broadband speeds also grew by 41 percent over last year, 18 percent quarter to quarter.
Overall, the top five Latin American countries in average peak connections — which measures the high-end of internet broadband use and is a measure much higher than average connection speed (for example, the U.S.'s average peak was 37 Mpbs) — were Ecuador with 18.5 Mpbs, Chile with 17.2 Mbps, Mexico with 17.1 Mbps, Brazil at 16.7 Mbps, and Columbia, topping out at 15.9 Mbps. As far as average internet connection speeds, though, Ecuador and Mexico are the only two major Latin American countries to have speeds of around the global average.