S. Korea leads the world in download speeds

Not that it’s a surprise, but South Korea smokes the rest of the world when it comes to Internet speeds, according to a recent study from Pando Networks. Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and Japan also made the top of the list. Worldwide, the U.S. ranks 26th, according to the study.

South Korea outstrips the rest of the world by a healthy margin — an average speed of 2,202 KBps — which is more than Great Britain, Turkey, Spain and Australia combined. The U.S. clocks in with a mean speed of 616 KBps, above average but far from the speediest.

The group measured the speed and reliability of the world’s Internet networks. Stats were based on 27 million downloads by 20 million computers from January to June 2011.

Only one U.S. city cracked the list of the top 12 fastest cities: Andover, Mass. With a population of about 33,000 residents, the city has fast speeds — seventh fastest in the world — because it’s a small city near colleges and universities, the media distribution company said. Of the other top cities, 10 were in South Korea, with Seocho leading the way. Bucharest, Romania, was the eighth-fastest city in the world.

The study also took a look at the fastest ’net providers in each country. In the U.S., Verizon and its FiOS network take the prize with an average speed of 1,056Kbps.

Increasing Americans’ access to broadband networks and faster download times is a priority of the FCC, which has partnered with Comcast, Microsoft and non-governmental organizations such as the Clinton Global Initiative to work on this issue.

In remarks yesterday, former U.S. president Bill Clinton said that South Korea has the world’s top Internet speeds because of government policy, and encouraged more partnerships such as the Microsoft Shape the Future program to help the United States catch up with the rest of the world.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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