There were roughly 1.73 billion Internet users worldwide last year, and that figure is undoubtedly trending upward. In a perfect world everyone would have access to the same bandwidth. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and some folks simply have it better than others.
Based on Akamai's Q4 2009 data, the US placed 22nd globally with an average connection speed of 3.79Mb/s and a meager 57% broadband adoption. The FCC's estimates suggest similarly, indicating about a third of American households don't have broadband access at home.
Akamai claims South Korea has the fastest connection, averaging about 11.7Mb/s. Hong Kong follows at 8.6Mb/s, Japan at 7.6Mb/s, Romania at 7.2Mb/s, Latvia at 6.2Mb/s, while Sweden, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland and others are above 5Mb/s on average.
It's not just speeds that vary mind you, prices fluctuate greatly depending on the region. For instance, at my Pennsylvania apartment I'm paying around $55 a month for an unbundled 25Mb/5Mb, while our Ecuadorian staff is stuck paying $130 month for a measly 3Mb/512Kb.
** The picture above is derived from OECD and ITIF broadband rankings. We cited Akamai's Q4 2009 State of the Internet report in the post.