Masan, South Korea: The Place With the Fastest Internet

When it comes to connecting to the Internet quickly, the best place to be isn’t Silicon Valley, or even Japan. It’s the city of Masan, South Korea, according to a report released Wednesday by Akamai Technologies Inc.

And Masan’s speeds are blazing fast. It’s the only city in the report with average connection speed above 20 megabits per second. In contrast, the fastest city in the U.S., Monterey Park, Calif., had an average speed of 6.9 Mbps.

It’s not clear why exactly Masan, a coastal city with a population of about half a million and a name that means “horse mountain,” ranks so highly. But the top 10 cities in the report were all in South Korea, which simply has a different technology environment from that in the U.S. For years the Korean government has spent billions on high-speed networks and subsidies to encourage broadband connections. And unlike in the U.S., competition between broadband services in Korea is cutthroat, driving down prices.

The quarterly report by Akamai highlights how the U.S. is being pummeled by cities in Asia and Europe when it comes to Internet connectivity. It’s part of the justification for the Federal Communications Commission’s push to spread the accessibility of high-speed broadband.

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