Access To Broadband Internet Is The New Access To Ports, Rail, And Electricity

Christopher Mims | Quartz | January 23, 2013

In the 21st century, a small business in Kansas City, Missouri, has at least one very important thing in common with a small business in Seoul, Korea: Both have access to ultra high-speed internet—Kansas City via Google Fiber and Seoul on account of its government championing the rollout of fiber optic internet for over a decade.

That’s one way to look at Akamai’s quarterly “state of the internet” report, in which the content serving company samples requests to its own servers to reveal internet connectivity speeds all over the world.

As usual, countries with the most people with internet connections faster than 10 megabits per second are the densely populated, rich economies of Asia (South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong) and some of Northern Europe (Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland). There are also a couple of surprises: Latvia and the United States. The US is both sprawling, making connectivity more expensive, and beset by broadband monopolists.