MEA countries in positive connectivity growth: report

Akamai State of the Internet Report shows GCC countries score highly in global internet speeds

All countries surveyed in MEA saw positive year-over-year changes in average connection speeds.
All countries surveyed in MEA saw positive year-over-year changes in average connection speeds.

Internet connectivity continues to show positive growth in across the Middle East and Africa, new report by Akamai Technologies shows.

Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the “Second Quarter, 2016 State of the Internet Report” provides insight into key regional and global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics, notable Internet disruptions, and IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation – all of which can be used for planning and development purposes, such as new market expansion or additional infrastructure investment.

About half of the MEA countries surveyed posted quarterly gains in the second quarter, with average Internet speeds growing anywhere from 2.0% in Saudi Arabia to a robust 64% in Egypt. According to the World Bank, enhanced connectivity has been linked to increases in national productivity, competitiveness, and the ability to attract foreign direct investment. 

“The continued increase in average connection speeds is a reassuring trend and we have seen a number of announcements in the region that bode well for further improving Internet connectivity between the MEA region and the rest of the world, including the landing of new high-capacity submarine cables in the region. However, recent Internet disruptions caused by everything from government-ordered blackouts to a lone monkey sparking a widespread outage are reminders of the many factors that can affect access to and use of the Internet that is so often taken for granted,” said David Belson, editor of Akamai’s State of the Internet Report.

Among the highlights from the report, global average connection speed decreased 2.3% from the first quarter of 2016 to 6.1 Mbps, although this still translated to 14% increase year over year.

All countries surveyed in MEA saw positive year-over-year changes in average connection speeds, with Kenya having again the largest jump (297%).  Egypt and Qatar both more than doubled their average speeds compared with one year prior, while eight countries in the MEA region posted double-digit yearly gains, the report shows.

The global average peak connection speed increased 3.7% to 36.0 Mbps in the second quarter, rising 2.5% year over year, with Qatar leading the Middle East in average peak connection speeds, and was ranked fifth globally, with a 9.6% quarterly increase to 97.8 Mbps, while the UAE ranked 25th on the global scale with 9.1% quarterly increase to 66.1 Mbps.

Nine of the surveyed MEA countries saw higher average peak connection speeds in the second quarter compared with the first.

The report also looked at IPv4 and IPv6 connections.

The number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform was just over 800 million, which is 1% less than the first quarter of 2016. Belgium remained the clear global leader in IPv6 adoption with 38% of its connections to Akamai occurring over IPv6, up 5.1% from the previous quarter. Among MEA countries, Saudi Arabia ranked 34th globally with a 1.2% adoption rate.

On mobile internet connections, the average mobile connection speeds ranged from a high of 23.1 Mbps in the United Kingdom to a low of 2.2 Mbps in Venezuela. Among the Middle Eastern countries, the United Arab Emirates recorded the highest average mobile connection speed (8.4 Mbps).

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