Here's an odd one: average connection speeds around the globe dropped 14 percent to just 2.3 Mbps during the last quarter of 2011. The drop off remains something of a mystery since the data used to calculate that result doesn't include mobile broadband (so its increased adoption can't be dragging down the whole) and Akamai offers no explanation. Still, it's not time to start panicking, just yet. Even though speeds in the US dropped 5.3 percent from the previous quarter, average connection rates are still up significantly over the previous year. Otherwise, things largely stayed the same. Global broadband adoption was steady at 66 percent and the US continued to trail its friends across the Pacific (by a lot) in the race for the fastest Internet connections.
Interestingly, while the number of broadband connections stayed consistent the number of narrowband lines (under 256 Kbps) declined dramatically. Yet, the percentage of the world's population connected to the web managed to increase 2.1 percent quarter over quarter -- and 13 percent for the year. So, while it may seem that the internet had a temporary set back in Q4 of 2011, the long term trends look good. The number of people online is increasing, the average speeds being pulled down by those people is climbing and the number of folks stuck in the dial up era is dropping. To get a copy of the full report hit up the source.