Canada’s Internet infrastructure rivals U.S. standard: Akamai report

Canada is an Internet leader in the Americas region – with high scores across several benchmarks such as  speed and adoption that rival U.S. figures and in some cases surpass them, according to a new report from Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai Technologies.

Akamai hosts a global server network used by Fortune 500 companies for many cloud computing services. Each quarter it gathers data about the traffic moving across its network and delivers a State of the Internet report. The report for the first quarter of 2013 shows that the U.S. and Canada are in a class of their own when compared to Internet infrastructure other countries in North and South America. Both speeds, adoption, and penetration where much higher in the two countries.

The United States had the highest average connection speed at 8.6 Mbps for the first quarter, while Canada had an average connection speed of 7.8 Mbps. That represents a 27 per cent improvement for speeds in the U.S. and a 21 per cent boost in Canada, Akamai reports. The data used for this analysis was classified by Akamai’s EdgeScape geolocation tool. Third on the ranking is Mexico with an average connection speed of less than half that of Canada’s at 3.3 Mbps, an improvement of 19 per cent over last year. Chile actually suffered an 11 per cent decrease in speeds to come in at fourth with 3.0 Mbps.

Similarly, the U.S. and Canada were well ahead of the pack when it came to average peak connection speeds at 36.6 Mbps and 34.2 Mbps respectively. But other countries were advancing more quickly, with better year over year improvements. This is because while infrastructure in Canada and the U.S. is already well developed, it is being built up in other countries across Central and South America, according to Akamai. For example:

  • Brazil’s National Broadband Plan is seeing fiber-optic networks deployed in major cities.
  • Colombia’s National Fiber Optic Project has a goal of deploying 15,000 km of optical fiber with an investment of $600 million.
  • Peru’s national broadband plan is looking to connect remote regions of the country with fiber optics.
Infographic from Akamai's State of the Internet report for Q1 2013.
Infographic from Akamai’s State of the Internet report for Q1 2013.

One area where Canada ranked ahead of the U.S. was in broadband adoption. It was the top ranking country in the Americas region with a 77 per cent adoption rate compared to the U.S. at number two with a 70 per cent rate. Both countries had an adoption growth rate at just less than four per cent.

But when it comes to “high broadband” adoption rates, defined by Akamai at more than 10 Mbps, the U.S. is still in first. It has a 25 per cent rate compared to Canada’s 19 per cent rate. But Canada is growing faster, with 77 per cent improvement over a year ago compared to the U.S. improvement of 69 per cent.

The report also highlights a major global Internet disruption, where several countries in the Asia Pacific region experience downtime. The South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable was cut March 27, apparently by three divers that were later apprehended by Egypt’s coast guard. While the countries that rely on the cable weren’t completely without Internet as a result, Akamai statistics show there was a major drop in average speed in countries like Egypt, India, and Pakistan.



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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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