UK broadband lags as global average speed hits 4Mbps

Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report into take-up of superfast broadband and IPv6 shows the UK is lagging

Worldwide average browsing speeds have gone above 4Mbps for the first time ever, with speeds in a number of countries – including Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden – leading the charge to true superfast broadband, according to web-watchers Akamai.

In its latest quarterly State of the Internet report, Akamai found a majority of European countries had over 10% of their connections to Akamai at speeds of 15Mbps – the speed needed to fully exploit the potential of 4K ultra-high-definition video – or higher, rising to a quarter in some countries, and up to 33% in Switzerland.

In the UK, 63% of connections were recorded at 4Mbps and above, with a UK national average broadband connection speed of 6.1Mbps

In an indication of the scale of the work that still lies ahead for the UK, 90% of connections in Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania topped 4Mbps. The average connection speed in regional leader Switzerland was 14.9Mbps.

Globally, adoption of 4Mbps broadband grew by 5.6% quarter over quarter to reach 59%, with all European countries reporting adoption above 50%. Growth was strongest in Italy and Norway. In the UK, adoption grew by less than 1%.

Akamai also surveyed 56 countries and regions to get a picture of mobile connectivity

South Korea remained at the top of the table, with users averaging between 14.7Mbps and 15.2Mpps over 4G connections. In Europe, Slovakia was fastest, with connection speeds averaging 8Mbps, while adoption of mobile broadband was highest in Denmark, where 92% now have a smartphone.

IPv6 transition well advanced

For the first time, Akamai registered a slight decline, of 0.9%, in the number of unique global IP addresses, suggesting a tipping point is about to be reached in the transition to IPv6.

While the decline in unique addresses was admittedly nominal, report editor David Belson said he saw no reason for concern, suggesting the decline might be due to “providers working to conserve limited IPv4 space, or likely was the result of increased IPv6 connectivity and adoption among leading network providers”.

The biggest number of requests for IPv6 addresses came from cable and mobile suppliers, with Verizon Wireless making over 50% of its requests to Akamai over IPv6. European countries dominated adoption, with traffic volumes doubling in the Czech Republic, although Germany and Romania saw IPv6 adoption drop, by a quarter in Germany’s case.

China still biggest web attacker

In terms of attack traffic, the highest volumes continued to originate in China, at 43%, with malicious traffic from Indonesia doubling to 15% of global volume and the US growing slightly to 13%, although the originating country of an attack cannot always be reliably determined from source IP addresses.

Port 80 (Microsoft-DS) overtook Port 445 (www/http) to become the most targeted port, making the past quarter only the third in recorded history where Port 445 has not sat at the top of the table.

In Europe, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks declined during the second quarter, with Akamai customers reporting 260 attacks – the second consecutive quarter of decline and down 15% year on year. Only two customers saw more than five DDoS attacks, with one reporting seven. The high in the first quarter was 17 unique attacks.

Akamai said its findings supported a recent Prolexic report that showed Layer 1-4 volumetric attacks were increasing, while Layer 5-7 application attacks were dropping.

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