Small States Win: DC, Delaware, And Rhode Island Have Fastest Average Internet In The U.S.

Image courtesy of frankieleon

Well, Virginia, we had a good run. The Old Dominion spent a while having the fastest average internet connection in the U.S., but that reign is over. A new report drops Virginia all the way back to 9th place, and puts in a handful of high-achieving newcomers at the top of the heap.

That’s the news from the latest “State of the Internet” report [PDF] from internet analytics firm Akamai, which has been running these quarterly updates for years.

The U.S. as a whole continues not to crack the ranks of the global top ten for fastest national averages — coming in at 16th place — but there’s lots of interesting moving and shaking going on among the states. Notably, several states have seen gains in average speed of more than 25% just since this time last year:

Akamai's top ten fastest average states in Q1 2016.

Akamai’s top ten fastest average states in Q1 2016.

D.C. may be a city, not a state, but it saw a whopping 48% increase in average internet connection speed over the last year. Maryland also saw a 40% increase, with New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island also all seeing gains of 30% or higher.

At the other end of the spectrum, Kentucky, Idaho, and Alaska have the lowest speeds in the nation, around 10.9 Mbps — just over half of what 3rd-place Rhode Island sees.

Higher speed connections — greater than 10 Mbps or 15 Mbps — also continue to be more widely available and, unsurprisingly, are seen in the states with the highest overall average connection speeds:

Akamai's charts showing how many connections exceeded the 10 and 15 Mbps thresholds in Q1 of 2016.

Akamai’s charts showing how many connections exceeded the 10 and 15 Mbps thresholds in Q1 of 2016.

In five areas — Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and D.C. — more than 50% of all the internet connections Akamai recorded cleared the 15Mbps threshold, all of which are huge gains over last year. Of course, if 51% of users are clocking in above 15 Mbps, that still means 49% aren’t — to say nothing of actually reaching the FCC’s 25 Mbps threshold for “high-speed” broadband service.

Still, gains are gains. The number of internet users in Maryland, New York, and New Jersey who have 15 Mbps or greater connections, as compared to this time last year, went up by 70% or more, coming close to doubling in twelve months.

Even in the best-performing states, barely a quarter of users hit that 25 Mbps mark. In D.C., the highest-ranking, it’s 29%. Delaware follows at 25%; Rhode Island and Massachusetts come in right behind at 21%; New Jersey, Maryland, and Utah all tie for fourth place at 19%, and Virginia comes in at fifth place with 18%. On the other hand those changes, too, are tremendous, with New Jersey posting a huge 180% increase in users clearing that mark as opposed to last year.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.