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UK top for mobile broadband speed, says Akamai

Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report says the average mobile broadband user in the UK can expect to get a service speed close to 30Mbps

Mobile broadband speeds over IPv4 connections hit a new high in the first three months of 2016, with the UK clocking the fastest average connection speed in the world, at 27.9Mbps, according to the latest quarterly State of the Internet report produced by Akamai.

This outpaced some of the most advanced mobile markets in the world, including South Korea, which averaged only 13.7Mbps, and digital powerhouses such as Singapore, which mustered an average speed of 6.7Mbps.

Compared with other European countries, the UK came in a country mile ahead of its closest competitors in the rankings of cloud services provider Akamai. It measured broadband speed as averaging 19.4Mbps in Belgium, 18.1Mbps in Norway and 16Mbps in Spain.

Akamai’s statistics contradict those produced in a recent report issued by consumer organisation Which?, using data collected by mobile network testing app developer OpenSignal. The Which? report found average UK download speeds ranged from just under 12Mbps to about 19Mbps, depending on which network the user was accessing. Three was the fastest network, and Vodafone the slowest.

It is important to note that Akamai’s statistics are frequently at odds with other estimations of network performance due to differing methodologies used. Akamai reports are based on traffic moving between network proxies and its own servers, rather than between proxies and end-user devices.

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Nevertheless, the statistics did appear to show an upwardly mobile trend for both mobile and fixed broadband services in Britain, with 36% of fixed broadband adoption now classed as above 14Mbps, a 49% year-on-year increase, although this was substantially below Ofcom’s estimates.

However, Akamai agreed with Ofcom in recognising that the UK’s average broadband speed was well above that of the other leading EU economies of France, Germany, Italy and Spain, but behind that of the digitising Nordic economies of Norway and Sweden, where average speeds hit 21.3Mbps and 20.6Mbps respectively.

Globally, average connection speed was up 23% year on year to 6.3Mbps, while average peak connection speed rose 14% over the same period to 34.7Mbps. The average peak connection speed in the UK is 61Mbps.

Report editor David Belson said that he expected higher connection speeds worldwide to be put to the test over the next few months.

“Live sports will be at the forefront this summer as we prepare for the Games in Brazil, with expectations that this year’s events will be watched by more online viewers than ever,” he said.

“Global connection speeds have more than doubled since the summer of 2012, which can help support higher-quality video streaming for bigger audiences across even more connected devices and platforms.”

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