Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.
Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.
"One key thing that stood out was the significant levels of growth [in connection speeds], for the most part. We saw double digit percentage growth — which is an encouraging trend," says David Belson, editor of Akamai's report.
Belson says it's not just smaller populations that contribute to faster connection speeds.
"It may also be states with stronger competition for broadband services," he says. "At least on a community level, if there's only one provider, the chances of getting very high-speed services for reasonable prices is low. But when you put Verizon FiOS and Comcast and RCN and others in the same neighborhood, there's more contention for the customer dollar. So you'll see them start getting more competitive for speed and pricing."
Even the fastest speeds on this list can't compare with the global connection speed leader, South Korea. Its average connection speed is 14.2 Mbps, but Internet providers there offer packages that promise hundreds of megabits per second.
Note that despite many statehood efforts, the District of Columbia is not a state, but is considered one for this study. And Delaware appears to be the only state that saw its average peak connection speed drop since last year. Researchers at Akamai say it's unclear why.