For a fast Internet connection, head to Rhode Island

Not all broadband Internet connections are equal. Some are faster than others. By a lot.

It all depends on where you live and who pays for Internet service. And it's all measured and reported regularly, so the data fits nicely into charts and maps, which is exactly what Net Index ( delivers.

Tiny Rhode Island can boast the fastest average download speed in the United States, at 15.4 megabits per second, and our largest state -- Alaska -- has the slowest at just 3.06 mbps. The average download speed in the U.S. is 9.88, which is less than one-third South Korea, which clocks-in at 31.47.

Download speed determines how long it takes to pull data from the Internet. The faster the connection, the sooner you'll have that movie, television show or music file on your hard drive. It also affects voice over Internet protocol telephony services like Skype and Web surfing efficiency.

"We have testing servers in almost every major city around the world," said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for Ookla, parent company of Net Index and "Our infrastructure makes it easy for us to get good, valid data. We have over 600 testing locations around the globe, as it's extremely important to have a testing server close to the tester."

The data is collected by more than 1.5 million tests conducted on a heavy-use day, and just under 1 million on slower, weekend days.

"We ( are showing not only cities and countries, but specific Internet Service Providers around the world. People can see things fully exposed right there." The data is from the last 30 days, updated daily.

Data is presented for average download and upload speeds as well as the quality of the connection. Suttles said now surveys testers about the price they're paying and the Internet speed they're promised.

Be prepared to spend some time at NetIndex, as you'll keep digging through maps and charts to uncover fun facts about connection speeds in cities and countries around the world.

Coming in behind South Korea is Latvia at 24.17; the Netherlands at 22.7; Republic of Moldova at 22.03; and Lithuania at 21.75.

To find the average speed in your state and city, scroll to the map at the bottom of the NetIndex home page. You'll get rankings by city and ISP. In Nevada, Carson City boasts the fastest speed at 13.2. Las Vegans average 8.06.

Slower upload speeds typically determine how long it takes to send photos or videos across the Web. The average upload speed in the United States is 2.13 mbps, while South Korea dominates with 18.75.

Suttles said the price and speed promise survey shows U.S. customers with an average cost of $5 per megabit of service. Alaskans pay more than $15. He added that ISPs deliver promised speeds more than 90 percent of the time.

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