Residents of the U.S. now surf the Web at an average speed of 5.8 Mbps, up from last year's 4.6 Mbps, according to Akamai's latest State of the Internet report.
That's the good news. But the bad news is that the average U.S. Web connection is slower than average speeds in 11 other countries, including South Korea (13.8 Mbps), Japan (8.9 Mbps) and Denmark (6.4 Mbps).
The fastest U.S. city was Silicon Valley's San Jose, Calif., which boasted average connections of 13.7 Mbps and also was ranked 9th for speed worldwide. But San Jose was the only U.S. city to appear among the 50 cities in the world with the fastest Web connections. The next speediest U.S. city was Fredericksburg, Va., with average connections of 8.5 Mbps.
Despite the relatively speedy connections available in Silicon Valley, many California residents surf the Web at slower speeds. Statewide, the average connection was 6.7 Mbps -- faster than New York's 6.4 Mbps but slower than Rhode Island's 8.2 Mbps.
But even though broadband speeds appear to be edging up in the U.S., they're still far slower than what advocates would like to see. Two years ago, former Congress member Rick Boucher (D-Va.) urged the Federal Communications Commission to endorse a goal for minimum broadband speeds of at least 50 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream for 80% of the U.S. population by 2015.
"Without committing to such ambitious, but achievable, levels of speed and service, the promises of telemedicine, distance learning and telecommuting may remain a far-off dream rather than a near-term reality,” he wrote at the time.