Forget London or Stockholm. Romania has Europe’s best broadband

Internet speeds

Nonetheless there is some data in the latest (in fact Q3 2010) trends report into same produced by our friends at Akamai that are worth looking into. (Go here if you want to download the full report.)

Headline findings first. The company says The Netherlands was able to achieve the highest percentage of connections in the 5-10 Mbps speed range in the world and that average mobile connection speeds for providers in Germany more than doubled. However, the most wired up European city is in neither Western country but in Romania, apparently – specifically, somewhere I at least have never heard of, Constanta, at an amazing 39.2 Mbps average connection speeds.

What’s the methodology used to support such claims? Akamai says it’s gleaned the data from information gathered from what goes over its global server network, which it says can be a valid base for observations on "key Internet statistics" such as broadband adoption, mobile connectivity, "attack traffic" and other bits and bobs.

Thus it says that in the third quarter of 2010, over 533 million unique IP addresses from 235 countries/regions connected to its network, a 20% increase year on year. More Brits connected – 12% more – but we still came in behind Spain (up 15%); Germany only saw 5.9% growth, while France was up 9.9% year-on-year.

Romania now has an average connection speed of 7.0 Mbps, followed by the Netherlands (6.3 Mbps), Latvia (6.0 Mbps), the Czech Republic (5.4 Mbps), Switzerland (5.3 Mbps), and Denmark (5.0 Mbps).

Indeed Romania was just one of four countries/regions around the world to achieve average peak connection speeds of 30 Mbps or more – ranking alongside South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Monaco (23 Mbps) and Latvia (23 Mbps) increased 65% and 64% respectively compared to the same period last year, while Portugal (19 Mbps) and Belgium (20 Mbps) increased their average peak connection speeds in excess of 40%. Sweden (19 Mbps) achieved the slowest year-on-year increase, interestingly (given all the propaganda about Scandinavian pre-eminence in all things Web) at just under 4%.

Meanwhile broadband rates of over 5 Mbps continued to show consistent growth – with, once again, Romania leading the way, it seems, as 50% of connections are now at speeds greater than 5 Mbps, pipping the Dutch (49%), Latvia (42%), Denmark (35%) and Belgium (35%). (However, globally, the Netherlands had the highest percentage of connections to Akamai in the 5-10 Mbps speed category, says the research).

What are the ‘fastest’ cities, connectivity-wise? Maybe no surprise that Asian conurbations are ahead here, with such population centres accounting for three-quarters of the list, with Taegu, South Korea holding the top spot with an average connection speed of 18.3 Mbps.

Nonetheless, as we said, Constanta is now the fastest city in Europe (number 48 out of 100), overtaking Umea (Sweden) which previously held the top slot. And no, no British cities are in the list – there are ten from the continent instead (four from the Netherlands, three from Romania, and one each from France, Germany, and Norway).

However, the UK saw the largest quarterly increase (nearly 80%) in observed traffic from known mobile network providers – but the average UK connection speed is 4 Mbps, with 85% of connections achieving 2 Mbps or more. Only 17% achieved connections above 5 Mbps.

Sorry about all the figures in one rush – but worth it. Seems like there’s a lot more happening on the ‘M25’ than one might think…

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