Today, we published the Fourth Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet / Connectivity Report. This issue of the report concludes its ninth year of publication. Over that time, everyone involved with the report at Akamai has worked hard to make it one of Akamai's most successful thought leadership programs. And of course, our readers have made the report a success through their ongoing interest in, and use of, its data, effectively making it a de-facto reference within the broadband industry.
This issue of the report brings a few changes. We have removed the mobile browser adoption section from the State of the Internet Report, but the underlying data remains available at Akamai IO. In addition, this issue will be the last one that includes the "Situational Performance" average page load time section. Akamai is evolving our RUM tool (which is the source of the Situational Performance data), and our goal is to bring a richer set of data and associated insight back to the report in the future.
Making IPv6 connection speed data available within the report is still on our roadmap, and we believe that we should be able to start including it this year. We recognize that including IPv6 insight is increasingly important as more network providers around the world make native IPv6 connectivity available to their fixed broadband subscribers, and as mobile network providers move to IPv6-first connectivity to accommodate growing subscriber counts as well as increasing numbers of connected devices on their networks.
Additionally, we are planning to make a significant change to the State of the Internet Report as we head into 2017, its tenth year of publication. Over the course of Volume 10, the intent is to move to a "digital-first" model. This model will make expanded data sets available online, along with associated visualizations. This shift will ultimately transition the long-form report from an exhaustive review of quarterly metrics to a shorter overview of highlights seen in the data over the past quarter. Moving to this digital-first model will enable us to make more data available, and to update it more frequently than once a quarter -- both of which are regularly requested. Instead of waiting until the quarter ends to review highlights, we will publish regular social media updates and blog posts in support of the data. The transition will be gradual over the next year -- you will see data sets moving from the report to the Akamai web site, as well as an associated shift in the commentary on the data within the report.
Finally, due to data issues that affected peak speed calculations this quarter, we have removed the discussion and analysis of Average Peak Connection Speeds from Sections 2 through 7 of this report - the global and regional sections. For those of you that use the related graphing tool, we have zeroed out the average peak connection speed data for the fourth quarter, resulting in what appears to be a drastic drop in speeds. Note that we expect to continue including average peak connection speed data in future State of the Internet reports.
Having said all of that, highlights from the new Fourth Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet / Connectivity Report include:
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Akamai observed a 0.1% quarterly increase in the number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform, rising to slightly fewer than 807 million -- about 600,000 more than in the third quarter. In all, slightly more than 3 million IPv4 addresses were depleted from available pools at the Regional Internet Registries in the fourth quarter, leaving approximately 42 million addresses remaining. Belgium remained the clear global leader in IPv6 adoption with 47% of its connections to Akamai for dual-stacked content happening over IPv6, up 20% from the previous quarter.
Connection Speeds & Broadband Adoption
The global average connection speed increased 12% quarter-over-quarter to 7.0 Mbps, a 26% increase compared with one year prior. At a country/region level, South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed in the world at 26.1 Mbps, despite a 0.7% decline as compared with the third quarter.
Globally, 4 Mbps broadband adoption was 79% in the fourth quarter, up 3.2% from the third quarter, with South Korea having with the highest level of adoption worldwide at 97% (followed closely by Guernsey and Malta, also with 97% adoption rates). The worldwide 10 Mbps, 15 Mbps, and 25 Mbps broadband adoption rates all saw robust quarter-over-quarter growth, increasing 12%, 14%, and 19% to adoption levels of 42%, 25%, and 10%, respectively. As it has for many quarters, South Korea continued to lead the world in all three broadband tiers, with adoption rates of 83%, 64%, and 34% respectively, after moderate quarterly increases in 10 Mbps and 15 Mbps adoption and a small decline in 25 Mbps adoption.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, average mobile connection speeds (aggregated at a country/region level) ranged from a high of 26.8 Mbps in the United Kingdom to a low of 2.9 Mbps in Venezuela. Based on traffic data collected by Ericsson, the volume of mobile data traffic grew by 13% over the previous quarter.