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UK 31st worldwide for broadband speeds

Average broadband speed in the UK lags behind 19 European countries, as well as most of North America and Asian economies such as Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore

Broadband speeds in the UK are significantly higher than the global average, but fall behind most European Union (EU) member states, and many other economically advanced nations, according to statistics crunched by broadband analysts at Cable.co.uk.

The data was gathered over a period of 12 months to 10 May 2017 by M-Lab, a collaboration between New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research, and Princeton University’s PlanetLab.

Based on the throughput of a single Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection, it revealed the mean broadband speed in the UK clocked in at 16.51Mbps – substantially below that claimed by regulator Ofcom in its recent Communications market report, which reported an average of 36.2Mbps as of November 2016.

This placed the UK behind 30 other countries, including EU partners such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, as well as Canada and the US, and the likes of Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore – which placed first overall with an average of 51.13Mbps – Taiwan, and even Thailand. However, the UK did place ahead of France, Ireland, Italy and Australia.

Cable consumer telecoms analyst Dan Howdle said the UK’s results, while reasonably good taken from a global perspective, showed that lessons still needed to be learned from the countries that placed higher.

“Not least the importance of reaching those with the lowest speeds, predominantly in very rural and/or hard-to-reach areas, but also greater investment in hyperfast fibre-to-the-premise [FTTP] networks, which currently reach only 2% of properties in the UK, compared with Sweden or Latvia, where FTTP exceeds 40%,” he said.

Matthew Hare, chief executive at FTTP supplier Gigaclear, said: “We welcome this report and its findings – however, it really does draw attention to the fact that the UK needs further investment into its ultrafast broadband infrastructure.”

“Yet, while we think it’s imperative to see roll out increase, particularly in rural areas, for us, full fibre provides the public the right to choose the speed they want, rather than accept the speed their technology delivers,” he added.

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