How to Compare Internet Speeds by MBPS

By Andrew Aarons

Internet connection speeds have increased exponentially in the past 20 years, from the dial-up connections first offered in North America to the broadband connections offered now. Internet providers offer different Mbps (mega bits per second) rates, and different countries have different connection speeds available.

Understanding Megabits

Electronic information is sorted into bits, with 1 bit being a fraction of a typed character and 8 bits equaling a character. A page of text has about 8,000 bits, and each megabit is 1,000 kilobits. This means that an Internet connection working at 3 Mbps (mega bits per second) can transfer 3,000,000 bits of data per second, or hundreds of pages of text or information.

Mbps Speeds in the US

According to a report by Akamai, the U.S. has an average broadband connection speed of 3.9 Mbps, with the highest average speed reported in Rhode Island as of October 2010. Broadband connections are defined by Akamai as more than 2 Mbps, and "high broadband" are connections at 5 Mbps. The fastest city in the U.S. is Sandy, Utah, with an average of 32.7 Mbps. States in New England and the Southwest have the fastest average speeds.

International Internet Speeds

South Korea has the highest average broadband speeds of any nation at 14.6 Mbps, while Japan comes second with 7.9 Mbps. The U.S. ranks 18th internationally. Switzerland, Belgium, Monaco, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, Denmark and Hong Kong round out the top 10.