Improvement rate slows as UK joins broadband leaders

The UK stepped up a couple of places in Cisco's third annual broadband quality survey, but is falling behind in its rate of improvement.

The UK stepped up a couple of places in Cisco's third annual broadband quality survey, but is falling behind in its rate of improvement.

The survey of 72 countries and 239 cities by the universities of Oxford and Oviedo ranked the UK 18th in terms of the quality and reach of its networks, up nearly 20% in less than three years, and ahead of Spain, Bulgaria and Australia in "comfortably enjoying today's applications".

But when quality scores from 2008, the first year of the survey are compared, the UK slips to 38th, being eclipsed by Malta, the United Arab Emirates, Latvia and Iceland.

The study, which measured speeds for downloads and uploads as well as latency found that global averages had improved to 5.92Mbps, 1.78Mbps, and 142ms respectively. This was a total quality improvement of 48% in three years, it said.

South Korea, which last year announced plans to deliver a 1Gbps universal broadband service by 2012, was the top country for both quality and rate of improvement.

The UK government has set a universal service target of 2Mbps download speed by 2015, and announced an ambition to have the "best broadband" in Europe by 2015. The European Commission last month targeted 30Mbps for all Europeans by 2020, with half getting 100Mbps.

According to the study, the UK in 2010 showed download throughput went up 39% from 2009, and almost doubled from 2008. Upload speeded were up less at 17% since 2009, and 59% since 2008. But latency dropped by 28% in just one year.

The report place UK among the leaders in terms of broadband penetration. It found 75% of UK households had broadband access, up 7% since 2008. However, Ofcom figures suggest penetration rates of 99%+.

The study revealed no difference in broadband quality between the most populated cities and those in rural areas. This will surprise many who have attended government and industry briefings on the issue.

Broadband leadership table (top 30) with scores and progress from 2008 to 2010:            
             
Ranking 2010 Country Leadership 2010 Leadership 2009 Leadership 2008 Movement Rank
14 Israel 96 N/A N/A N/A N/A
1 Korea 157 128 107 50 1
6 Malta 108 92 67 41 2
8 United Arab Emirates 106 88 68 38 3
15 Latvia 94 71 58 36 4
4 Iceland 115 103 85 30 5
19 Cyprus 83 69 55 28 6
5 Luxembourg 111 101 84 27 7
12 Bahrain 100 91 73 27 8
27 Bulgaria 71 62 44 27 9
8 Qatar 106 106 80 26 10
22 Lithuania 79 75 55 24 11
23 Romania 78 67 54 24 12
13 Ireland 97 86 75 22 13
24 Greece 74 65 52 22 14
3 Japan 116 98 95 21 15
9 Sweden 104 96 83 21 16
2 Hong Kong 118 104 98 20 17
5 Switzerland 111 102 91 20 18
13 Finland 97 83 77 20 19
18 Estonia 87 77 67 20 20
22 Portugal 80 69 60 20 21
28 Hungary 71 61 51 20 22
15 United States 93 84 74 19 23
17 Belgium 91 82 73 18 24
18 Germany 88 77 70 18 25
11 Norway 102 95 85 17 26
29 Czech Republic 66 59 49 17 27
10 Denmark 103 94 87 16 28
16 Slovenia 93 87 77 16 29
5 Singapore 111 105 96 15 30
30 Poland 60 52 45 15 31
30 Slovakia 60 54 45 15 32
7 Netherlands 107 101 93 14 33
15 France 93 87 79 14 34
24 New Zealand 75 70 62 13 35
15 Canada 93 87 81 12 36
18 United Kingdom 88 82 76 12 37
21 Spain 80 74 69 11 38
25 Austria 73 69 64 9 39
26 Italy 72 68 63 9 40
20 Taiwan 82 82 74 8 41
21 Australia 80 78 74 6 42
Source: Cisco 2010          

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