The U.S. is the best country in the world for a lot of reasons, but Internet access isn't one of them. Our average broadband speeds lag behind a lot of other countries, and we pay more for it than most.
Every year, a company called Akamai Technologies ranks the average Internet speed of countries around the world. So, which countries made the top 10 this year?
Before I tell you that, I should get the bad news out of the way. The U.S. wasn't in the top 10. In fact, we came in at just number 17.
Part of the reason for our poor showing is just geographical. In the Mountain and Central regions of the U.S., we have tons of little communities surrounded by dozens of miles of wide open space. Running the cable or fiber needed for fast Internet is a major undertaking. That's why many have slower satellite connectors or even dial up.
You'll notice that most of the countries on the top 10 list are smaller or the population is very concentrated.
When you're looking at the list, it's interesting to think about not just the speeds, but how fast the Internet speed is improving. *Note that the measurements are in Megabits per second.
Global Internet - 4.5 Mbps. It improved 20% over last year.
10. Finland - 12.2 Mbps. It improved 33% over last year.
9. Czech Republic - 12.3 Mbps. It improved 8.4% over last year.
8. Ireland - 12.7 Mbps. It improved 24% over last year.
7. Latvia - 13.0 Mbps. It improved 25% over last year.
6. Netherlands - 14.2 Mbps. It improved 15% over last year.
5. Switzerland - 14.5 Mbps. It improved 21% over last year.
4. Sweden - 14.6 Mbps. It improved 34% over last year.
3. Japan - 15.2 Mbps. It improved 16% over last year.
2. Hong Kong - 16.8 Mbps. It improved 37% over last year.
And the winner...
1. South Korea - 22.2 Mbps. It improved 1.6% over last year.
South Korea is once again at the top, but you can see its rate of improvement has slowed. That's because it's reaching the point where almost all of its population that can buy fast Internet has fast Internet. In fact, between the third quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter, it saw a drop of 12%, presumably as new users got online at lower Internet speeds.
So, how does your Internet speed compare to the average in these countries? Let me know in the comments.