4K/UltraHD network readiness emerging slowly

Joseph O'Halloran | 27 June 2014

Among the crucial commercial development parameters at play governing 4K roll-out, network readiness is crucial but is only developing slowly, says CDN provider Akamai.

In its First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, the company says that 4K/UltraHD adaptive bitrate streams will generally require between 10-20Mbps of bandwidth. With that in mind it has for the first time constructed a 4K-readiness metric highlighting the percentage of connections at speeds above 15Mbps, with the goal of identifying candidate geographies most likely to sustain such streams.

In its survey, Akamai found that globally only 11% of connections were at speeds of 15Mbps or above in the first quarter of 2014. With 60% 4K-readiness, South Korea headed the top ten countries/regions on the 4K-readiness list, while Japan had 32% of its connections to Akamai at 15Mbps or above. A total of six European countries made it into the top ten countries/regions ranking, namely Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Czech Republic. Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden had more than a fifth of their connections at speeds over 15Mbps in the first quarter of 2014 with Switzerland's 23% region leading. The Czech Republic had the lowest level of 4K readiness with 17%, the same score as the United States. Overall the survey found that 4K-readiness was fairly limited across most of the surveyed countries in the Americas region with only the US and Canada (13%) registering double-digit readiness.

Akamai concluded that the 'impressive' year-over-year changes in European countries point to the improved adoption of high-speed broadband connectivity that will ultimately drive higher levels of