Monday, January 24, 2011

Korea Still Has the World's Fastest Internet

Akamai is about to release another of its quarterly "State of the Internet" reports and it shows that South Korea continues to have the world's highest average internet access speeds, and by quite some margin.  As noted in a report by Fortune magazine, South Koreans hook into the internet at an average speed of 14 megabits per second, or seven times the global average.  We visited the topic of internet speed in a post last month.  As MikeinSeoul noted in his comments, the relatively small geographical size of Korea has something to do with these speeds.  Along with its mountainous geography and relatively small size, South Korea is highly urbanized with a very large proportion of the population living in high rise apartment complexes that are connected to the nationwide fiber optic networks.
Having reiterated this much, there is more to the Korean story than simply its size and geographic advantages.  South Korea is slightly larger than the state of Indiana, yet it has much faster internet connection speeds than Indiana.  My forthcoming book with Dr. OH, Myung, Digital Development in Korea:  Building an Information Society, addresses some of the reasons why Korea today possesses such advanced and fast digital networks.  Policies and persistent long term investment in building networks clearly had something to do with it, and they began back in the early 1980s.
For the fun of it, I just did two speed tests, using the tool that is freely available on  The first (results in the top graphic) showed the speed of my connection from rural Gangwon Province to a server in Seoul.  The second tested the upload and download speed to a server in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Just thought some of you might be interested.  (Click on either of the graphics to enlarge.)

1 comment:

  1. Don't take the Sioux Falls test to be indicative of the average speed in a small U.S. city. Rural South Dakotans got ISDN far before the rest of the nation and then began using wireless internet, DSL and cable modems relatively early too because of extremely proactive rural telecom cooperatives.