- LATIN AMERICA
- MIDDLE EAST
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
What do South Koreans, Romanians, and the Swiss all have in common? On average, they enjoy faster Internet connection speeds than
Americans, according to the quarterly "State of the Internet Report" issued by
Many of the countries that rank higher than the United States have invested significant government funds in
building up broadband infrastructure. The United States, on the other hand, has pursued a more "free-market
approach," which, according to David Belson, director of market intelligence at
The drawback? If you're outside those areas of high population density, private service providers might not find it worth their time to sell you a fast connection. In more rural areas, "they don't have as much incentive to invest. Many places are hard to reach with fiber," says Belson.
Based on that logic, one might think that the largest, densest cities in the United States are the places with the fastest connections. But that's not the case, according to
1. Iowa City, Iowa 92 percent
2. Storrs Mansfield, Conn. 89 percent
3. Kingston, R.I. 88 percent
4. Norman, Okla. 87 percent
5. Clemson, S.C. 87 percent
6. Hanover, N.H. 86 percent
7. Logan, Utah 85 percent
8. Chapel Hill, N.C. 84 percent
9. Newark, Del. 83 percent
10. Henderson, Nev. 81 percent
It's no coincidence that most of these cities are strongly associated with a college or university, such as the
While a strong university presence clearly has a large effect, it is not the only factor that makes some cities have faster connections than others. Here is the list of U.S. cities with the highest average connection speeds:
1. Sandy, Utah
2. Iowa City, Iowa
3. Norman, Okla.
4. Logan, Utah
5. Clemson, S.C.
6. Charlottesville, Va.
7. Spanish Fork, Utah
8. Storrs Mansfield, Conn.
9. Gorham, Maine
10. Kingston, R.I.
While many of the college towns from the previous list show up here, there is also Spanish Fork, Utah, which is not a college town. The city government of Spanish Fork owns and operates its own cable and Internet provider, the Spanish Fork Community Network. Belson says such municipal broadband networks, "in some cases, can certainly lead to higher speeds," particularly if the presence of such a network encourages competition with private providers.
The state of Utah in general has been an innovator in terms of municipal broadband, with 16 cities having banded together in a consortium called UTOPIA (
While proximity to a university and municipal innovation might help a city boost its connection speed, population density is still an important factor.
2. New Hampshire
5. Rhode Island
6. New York
8. District of Columbia
Northeast states dominate the list, and Belson says that might be because these states generally fit more people into less space. The Northeast also has more metro areas than other parts of the country. "The closer you are to a large city increases the chances you'll have one or more selections," Belson says. So if you're not a college student, the denser and more urban parts of the country are generally where you're likely to have the fastest time surfing the Web.