A Mid-Summer Roundup Of Broadband Trends

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Watching what happens with broadband consumption — which is still growing at an unprecedented 50% or more per year — just never seems to get old, especially considering that nothing in the history of consumable goods has ever grown this fast for this long.

Two reports highlighting recent trends form the basis for this week’s translation. The first is Akamai’s “The State of the Internet,” which it compiles quarterly. The second, from Conviva, examines online video performance.

Akamai highlights: South Korea is still the fastest broadband in the world, on average (14.2 Megabits per second), and Hong Kong still offers the fastest peak speeds (63.6 Mbps). In the U.S., our average connection speed is 8.6 Mbps, ranking us at No. 9 out of 10 countries.

Note: “Peak” speeds define how fast a connection is, absent any network load by any other users — it’s just you and your connection. Average speeds show what everyone using the connection gets, over time and considering traffic load.

Of the 50 states, Vermont ranked speediest in broadband, with an average connection speed of 12.7 Mbps. Slowest: Arkansas, at 4.4 Mbps. And, a notable first: Q1 marked the first time that all of the top 10 states logged average peak connection speeds higher than 40 Mbps.

In its “Viewer Experience Report,” Conviva analyzed 22.6 billion video streams, in real time, in 190 countries. Intent: To emphasize the connection between quality, viewer engagement and profitability.

Chewy stats: In 2012, 124.8 billion minutes of streaming video got held up by bad buffering — the equivalent of 89 human lifetimes. That’s a lot of buffer.

What happens if we have to wait for more than two seconds to see an online video? We bail. For long-term video (15 minutes or longer), we’re four times more likely to stop watching. Even a 1% rise in buffering time translates into eight minutes less video watched.

Conviva even coined an acronym — the “BIV,” for “buffering impacted view” — defined as any stream with more than 2% of the total length impacted by buffering. So, a three-minute YouTube video that buffers more than 3.6 seconds is a BIV.

Our advice: Stand up, right now. Go outside. Talk a walk. Repeat.

Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis at translationplease.comor multichannel.com/blog.