Israel's Internet Speed Jumps 52% in Single Year, Fastest Growth Rate in the World

While average Internet speed in Israel increased in 2012, largely thanks to recent infrastructure investments by Bezeq and HOT, cellular Internet speeds remain low.

Amir Teig
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Amir Teig

Israel's average Internet speed jumped 52 percent over the past year, the highest rate of growth in the world last year, according to Akamai Technologies' "State of the Internet Report," published on Tuesday. The average Internet speed in Israel at the beginning of 2013 was 7 megabytes per second, according to the report.

Akamai is a cloud platform company that specializes in accelerating Internet speeds and increasing the efficiency of data transfer over the Internet.

Akamai now ranks Israel 19th in the world in terms of average Internet speed. That is a six-place improvement over the country's ranking in the first quarter of 2010, when the average speed was just 3 megabytes per second. The sharp gain in average Internet speeds in Israel was the result of infrastructure investments made by Bezeq and HOT Telecommunication Systems since 2009, according to the report.

The Akamai report followed the recent release of a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which by placed Israel 24th among OECD members as regards Internet speed. The OECD report was based on figures from the first quarter of 2012.

The improved Internet speeds come before the implementation of an Israel Electric Corporation plan to build an above-ground fiber optic network to compete with Bezeq and HOT. Such a network would dramatically increase Israel's average Internet speed.

"The Israel Electric Corporation's initiative is likely to foster similar growth in the Internet surfing speeds in Israel over the long term," the Akamai report stated.

Seventy-three percent of Internet users in Israel have connections faster than 4 megabytes per second, according to Akamai. Moreover, 12 percent of Israeli households have Internet connections faster than 10 megabytes per second.

However, the speed of cellular Internet connections in Israel is slower than in most other developed countries. In the first quarter of 2010, the average Internet speed on Israeli cell phones was 1 megabyte per second. At present, the speed of cell phone Internet connections has risen to just 1.7 megabytes per second, much less than the increase in speed on modem-based networks.

This reflects both the recent infrastructure investments made by Bezeq and HOT and the decreased Internet infrastructure investments by Israeli cell phone companies, following the last major upgrade in 2009 and 2010.

A customer tests the Bharti Airtel Ltd. 3G USB Modem 7.2 Mbps with a Lenovo IdeaPad at the company's flagship store in Mumbai, India on Thursday, May 2, 2013.Credit: Bloomberg