Friday, May 30, 2008

California's "surprisingly low" ranking for broadband connectivity speed

California may be widely considered the U.S. information technology leader as the home of the famed Silicon Valley. But when it comes to broadband Internet connectivity, it doesn't even make the top 10 among states, according to's report on a recent study by mammoth Web server farmer Akamai.

David Belson, Akamai's director of market intelligence, told that California ranks 17th, with just 21 percent of its connections coming in at 5 Mbps or higher over Akamai's network. "It was surprising that California didn't rank higher on the high broadband list," Belson said.

The top states are Delaware with 60 percent of its connections to Akamai measured at 5 Mbps, Rhode Island (42 percent) New York (36 percent), Nevada (34 percent), Oklahoma (33 percent), Connecticut (32 percent), New Hampshire (30 percent), Massachusetts (29 percent), Maryland (27 percent) and the District of Columbia (27 percent).

A possible contributing factor is the mediocre, incomplete state of the Golden State's broadband infrastructure. In January, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Broadband Task Force reported California's broadband infrastructure is unevenly deployed with nearly 2,000 towns and communities lacking broadband access -- many in Northern California -- while other parts of the state, mostly in metro areas of Southern California, enjoy state of the art connections.

What's truly surprising isn't so much Akamai's findings but AT&T's dubious assertion in a recent California Public Utilities filing that it provides broadband to its entire service area in the state.

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