Akamai: Only 21% of U.S. homes have enough bandwidth to stream 4K

The percentage of U.S. homes capable of streaming 4K video is increasing, but at a very slow rate.

In its second quarter State of the Internet report, cloud services provider Akamai said that 21 percent of U.S. homes have Internet speeds of 15 Mbps or higher, a threshold that's considered the minimum necessary to effectively stream 4K video. 

This is a marginal uptick over the second quarter of 2014, when Akamai found that around 17 percent of U.S. homes were 4K ready. Overall, the U.S. ranks 18th globally in reaching the 15 Mbps 4K threshold. 

The market size of available 4K streaming homes has relevance to pay-TV operators, whose nascent 4K/UltraHD services are competing with larger libraries of 4K content from online video operators including Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ: AMZN). Amazon recently debuted a 4K version of its Fire TV streaming device. 

Overall, Akamai found that South Korea remained the global leader in average broadband speeds, coming in at 23.1 Mbps. Hong Kong was second (17 Mbps), followed by Japan (16.4 Mbps), Sweden (16.1 Mbps) and Switzerland (15.6 percent). 

The global average for connection speeds increased 17 percent year over year. 

The U.S. ranked 20th overall with an average speed of 11.7 Mbps in the second quarter. That's a 2 percent year-over-year increase, but well below the 25 Mbps broadband definition threshold recently established by the FCC. 

Akamai found that only 4.9 percent of IP addresses connected to its network globally are capable of download speeds of 25 Mbps or higher. But that was an increase of 7.5 percent over the first quarter. 

Global peak connection speeds reached an average of 32.5 Mbps, up 26 percent year over year. 

For more:
- read this Akamai State of the Internet report

Related articles:
U.S. broadband homes fast enough for 4K up to 19%, Akamai says
Akamai profits fall to $67.2M over increased infrastructure spending in anticipation of OTT traffic
Amazon introduces 4K Fire TV, further extends SVOD's Ultra HD advantage over pay-TV