Northeast Still King of U.S. Broadband Speeds

A new report issued by the Communications Workers of America reiterates something we've now known for a while: If you want fast Web connections, move to the northeastern U.S.

Also read: And the state with the fastest broadband is... Delaware

Although the CWA's survey is not scientific, it does mirror data released earlier this year from CDN vendor Akamai showing that Delaware has the fastest average download speeds in the nation. The CWA's survey, which was conducted online by asking users to take a connectivity test at the Web site SpeedMatters.org, found that users in Delaware had average download speeds of 13.4Mbps, more than four times the national average of 3Mbps. Akamai found that the average Delaware Web connection had a download speed of 7.6Mbps, by far the fastest in the nation.

And just as northeastern states dominated Akamai's speed tests, so do they dominate the CWA's informal survey. Following Delaware in fastest average download speeds are Massachusetts (9.3Mbps), New Jersey (8.6Mbps), Maryland (7.6Mbps), New York (7.5Mbps) and Rhode Island (7Mbps).

In the Akamai survey, northeastern states accounted for seven of the top 10 in the nation, including Vermont (5.8Mbps), Massachusetts (5.7Mbps), New Hampshire (5.6Mbps), Rhode Island (5.4Mbps), New York (5.4Mbps) and Connecticut (5.4Mbps).

The other states that averaged 5Mbps or higher were Nevada (5.5Mbps), Indiana (5.4Mbps) and Wisconsin (5.1Mbps).

Interestingly, Vermont actually ranks close to the bottom of the CWA's survey as its 2.5Mbps average download speed places it 46 in the country.

Rounding out the states with the lowest download speeds in the CWA survey are Mississippi (2.4Mbps), Arkansas (2.3Mbps), Wyoming (1.5Mbps), Montana (1.2Mbps) and Alaska (1Mbps). The CWA's finding that the U.S. as a whole has an average download speed of 3Mbps is in line with Akamai's figure of 3.8Mbps.

Although there have been persistent gaps in broadband connectivity between urban and rural areas in the U.S., a report released this year by the U.S. Department of Commerce suggests those gaps may be narrowing, as just over half (51%) of households in rural areas now use broadband at home, compared to 66% of households in urban areas.

In 2001, 10.5% of urban households reported using broadband at home while only 4% of rural households reported using broadband at home.

The Commerce Department's survey found that among individual states, Utah, New Hampshire, Alaska and Massachusetts have the highest rates of broadband adoption at 73%, followed closely by New Jersey and Washington at 72%.

Alabama and Mississippi were the only states to report broadband adoption rates of less than 50%, reporting in at 48% and 42% respectively.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

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