July 17, 2009, 12:00 AM

The East Coast leads U.S. in high broadband Internet connections

Broadband adoption continues to grow in the U.S., with the greatest levels of high-speed broadband Internet connections found on the East Coast, according to Akamai Technologies Inc.’s “State of the Internet Report” for the first quarter of 2009.

Broadband adoption continues to grow in the U.S., with the greatest levels of high-speed broadband Internet connections found on the East Coast, according to Akamai Technologies Inc.’s “State of the Internet Report” for the first quarter of 2009.

Eastern states represented eight of the top 10 states on the list, led by Delaware, with 62% of households having high-speed broadband web access, a 6.7% year-over-year increase. High-speed broadband access is defined as connections of 5Mbps or greater. Such access is able to handle standard-definition, DVD-quality video content, Akamai says.

New Hampshire held the number two spot, with 59% penetration (up 100%), followed by New York (49%, up 38%), Nevada (45%, up 36%), Vermont (44%, up 128%), Rhode Island (42%, up 0.5%), Connecticut (42%, up 30%), District of Columbia (41%, up 51%), Oklahoma (40%, up 22%), and Maine (38%, up 371%). Akamai could not explain the large percentage increases in high-speed Internet access in certain states.

Globally, one-fifth of the Internet connections were at speeds greater than 5 Mbps, a 5% increase from the previous quarter, and a 30% increase from the same period last year.

“The implication ultimately for the continued increase in connection speed and growth in adoption of broadband is that Internet retailers can continue to add more rich media content to their site, more engaging content, anything they can do to bring buyers and keep them on the site longer,” says David Belson, editor of the report.

Akamai based the report on data collected during the first quarter from its global server network, and includes all countries and all 50 states in the U.S. that had more than 1,000 average monthly unique IP addresses make requests to Akamai’s network during the fourth quarter.

The Akamai report also notes that hacker attacks-including denial of service-continue to be major problem for retailers, although the number of countries originating attack traffic dropped significantly. During the first quarter of 2009, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 68 countries around the world, down nearly 65% from the fourth quarter count of 193 countries.

In the first quarter, the United States moved back into the second-place slot, accounting for 22.15% of attack traffic. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the U.S. ranked first, accounting for 22.85% of such traffic. China was the top source for hacker attacks in the first quarter, accounting for 27.59% of attack traffic.

Because hacker attacks remain a major threat, online retailers need to remain alert, Belson says. “They’re potentially higher-profile targets and as such may be more likely to be targeted,” he says. “Retailers need to make sure that their sites are buttoned down and very secure.”

Akamai maintains a global network of servers that helps speed up delivery of content from e-commerce and other web sites.

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