What do South Koreans, Romanians, and the Swiss all have in common? On average, they enjoy faster Internet connection speeds than Americans, according to the quarterly "State of the Internet Report" issued by Akamai, a technology company in Cambridge, Mass., that sells fast data delivery to businesses and other enterprises that put content online. The company looked through its data for an average connection speed throughout the United States and found it to be 3.9 megabits per second, the 18th highest among all countries—meaning that it is well behind first place South Korea, with 14.6 megabits per second. Not only does South Korea have a high average connection speed, it also has a high number of very fast connections: Seventy-four percent of the country's connections are more than 5 megabits per second, a speed that Akamai calls "high broadband." Only 24 percent of U.S. connections qualify as high broadband.
News of this report came out in January, and Extra! Korea beat me to it by about three weeks. The KBS World article notes that Japan came in second, and Hong Kong, Romania, and Sweden round out the top five.
In August we read that the United States is 15 years behind South Korea's internet speed, and I noted that while both Incheon and Narita airports offer free internet access in certain public stations in the airside terminals, at Chicago's O'Hare they were charging five dollars for the first fifteen minutes, $0.33 for each additional minute.