If you assume, as virtually everybody does, that mobile Internet connections will, in the future, represent the primary way most people globally use the Internet, the decisive feature of global access speeds will be the speed of the mobile network, not the fixed network.
Inevitably, at some point, global Internet access speeds therefore will be dictated largely by the performance of the mobile networks, not the fixed networks. That will have interesting implications for organizations that collect or analyze global Internet access experiences and networks.
At some point, it might be necessary to recalibrate our notions of “progress,” as the typical fixed connection is going to have a speed profile quite distinct from that of mobile, in many instances, especially in developed regions.
On the other hand, the advent of Long Term Evolution networks might also, in some cases, boost average speed ratings, especially in developing regions, where fixed network infrastructure is difficult to build, and supports relatively lower Internet access speeds.
The latest Akamai "State of the Internet" report shows the global “average” connection speed grew 10 percent in the third quarter of 2013, and 29 percent year over year, to reach an average of 3.6 Mbps.
Average connection speeds grew 27 percent or more in all the top-10 countries or regions. Globally, 133 qualifying countries or regions saw year-over-year increases in average connection speeds, from 0.2 percent in Egypt (to 1.2 Mbps) to 259 percent in Réunion (to 6.8 Mbps).
Global average peak connection speeds showed a slight decline in the third quarter of 2013, dropping 5.2 percent to 17.9 Mbps.
Average mobile network connection speeds during the third quarter of 2013 ranged from a high of 9.5 Mbps to a low of 0.6 Mbps, while average peak connection speeds ranged from 49.8 Mbps to 2.4 Mbps.
Some 18 mobile service providers showed average connection speeds in the broadband (>4 Mbps) range.
According to data collected by Ericsson, the volume of mobile traffic increased by approximately 10 percent during the third quarter and grew by 80 percent year over year.
Seven of the top-10 countries or regions saw increases in average peak connection speeds during the quarter, ranging from 0.5 percent in Hong Kong (to 65.4 Mbps) to 19 percent in South Korea (to 63.6 Mbps).
Romania, Latvia and Belgium experienced declines of 4.4, 3.3 and 3.6 percent to 45.4, 43.1 and 38.5 Mbps, respectively, Akamai says.
Year over year, the global average peak connection speed grew 13 percent over the third quarter of 2012.
Yearly increases among the top 10 countries or regions ranged from 15 percent in Latvia to 63 percent in Singapore.
Worldwide, 115 qualifying countries/regions showed yearly growth in average connection speeds, with increases ranging from 0.3 percent in South Africa (to 11.9 Mbps) to 111 percent in Palestine (to 19.9 Mbps).
Global adoption of access services operating at greater than 10 Mbps rose 31 percent quarter-over-quarter to reach 19 percent.
The numbers continue to show that substantial progress in supplying Internet higher-speed access is being made, globally, despite the challenges.
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