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Looking back, and looking ahead, with the State of the Internet Report

Eight years ago, Akamai CMO Brad Rinklin called me into his office to talk about an idea he had - sharing some of Akamai's unique Internet insights with the broader community and establishing thought leadership along the way.  (I even have the PowerPoint deck around somewhere, although it's buried in 17 years of Aka-files and Aka-mail.)  Out of that conversation came the State of the Internet Report - we published the first issue in May 2008, covering the first quarter of 2008.  The report itself covered security (attack traffic, DDoS attacks, and publicized Web site hacks), networks (outages, de-peering events, routing issues, and significant new connectivity), Internet penetration (unique IPv4 addresses seen by Akamai and unique IP addresses per capita), and broadband (% above 5 Mbps, % above 2 Mbps, and % below 256 kbps).

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Since that first report was published, various sections and metrics have come and gone, the working definition of broadband has grown from 2 Mbps to 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps, and the security data has spun out into its own separate report.  In the spirit of continuing to enhance the report, we plan to begin including two new data sets starting with the First Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report. 

  • The first lays the groundwork for an eventual shift away from average connection speed as the primary metric within the report, with a goal of providing a more representative view of end-user experience. More details, and previews of the data, will be provided in upcoming blog posts.
  • The second looks at IPv6 connection speeds.  As more broadband providers make native IPv6 connectivity available to subscribers, we want to explore whether there is a difference in connection speeds between IPv6 and IPv4 connections and what the impact of these differences may be. More details, and previews of the data, will be provided in upcoming blog posts.

We're proud that over the years, the report has become a de facto reference on Internet connection speeds at a state, national, and international level. Over this last year, data from the report has appeared in Time Magazine, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as being referenced in numerous other blog posts and news articles. It has also been cited by broadband advocates and legislators around the world.

Many who read the report, and write about the data published within it often focus on the quarterly changes, and what they mean for a given state/country.  While we would always like to see metric values improving quarter-over-quarter, that won't always happen, for a variety of reasons.  As I frequently note when talking about the results covered within the report each quarter, it is the longer-term (year-over-year and multi-year) trends that are the most important data to focus on. These trends are more indicative of actual progress around improved performance than any observed quarter-to-quarter differences.  Additional insights into these longer-term trends are available in the graph-based visualization on the stateoftheinternet.com Web site.


Blog Post SOTI Chart.png

 

For readers that want to consume the State of the Internet Report on a tablet or e-reader device, we are now making the report available for download from online bookstores including amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Apple iBooks, and Kobo. Specific download links can be found here, and we encourage you to leave positive reviews of the report at your online bookstore of choice.

As always, if you have comments, questions, or suggestions regarding the State of the Internet Report, please reach out to us via email at stateoftheinternet@akamai.com or on Twitter at @akamai_soti. 

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