UK broad­band is slower than 30 other coun­tries

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What hap­pened?

The UK is in 31st place for av­er­age broad­band speeds across the world, ac­cord­ing to new global fig­ures that place it be­hind coun­tries in­clud­ing Es­to­nia, Thai­land, Hun­gary and Ma­cau.

The data, com­piled by Ca­ble.co.uk from more than 63 mil­lion in­ter­net speed tests, shows that the UK lags be­hind a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of other na­tions, with an av­er­age broad­band speed of just 16.51Mbps. Chart-top­per Sin­ga­pore’s av­er­age con­nec­tion speed is over three times faster than the UK’S, at 55.13Mbps. At this speed, lucky in­ter­net users can down­load a 7.5GB file in less than 20 min­utes, while UK res­i­dents have to wait more than an hour for the down­load to com­plete.

Many of the coun­tries that ben­e­fit from faster av­er­age speeds are Asian na­tions, in­clud­ing Tai­wan, South Korea and Ja­pan, which have rep­u­ta­tions for ad­vanced tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The United States also ranks higher, as do many of Bri­tain’s eastern Euro­pean neigh­bours. Slove­nia, Lithua­nia and the Czech Repub­lic all en­joy faster in­ter­net speeds on av­er­age, de­spite hav­ing a com­bined gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) fig­ure that’s around 10 times smaller than the UK’S, ac­cord­ing to World Bank fig­ures.

Even in 31st place, how­ever, the UK is firmly in the top 20% of coun­tries when it comes to in­ter­net speeds, and ben­e­fits from faster con­nec­tions than France, Lux­em­bourg, Italy and even the Repub­lic of Ire­land. It’s also sig­nif­i­cantly ahead of Ye­men, which sits at the bot­tom of the ta­ble with an av­er­age speed of less than 1Mbps.

How will it af­fect you?

If you’re think­ing of mov­ing abroad or tak­ing an ex­tended hol­i­day, it’s use­ful to know that there are 30 coun­tries in which you can en­joy faster broad­band than here in the UK. At the same time, some of our near neigh­bours are even slower, so we should be grate­ful for small mer­cies. Of course, your ac­tual broad­band speed may be sig­nif­i­cantly faster or slower than the na­tional av­er­age, as Barry Collins ex­plained in his col­umn in Is­sue 428 ( bit.ly/ we­buser428).

What do we think?

There’s been a lot of dis­cus­sion re­cently about the great vari­a­tion in broad­band speeds across the UK, so it’s in­ter­est­ing to com­pare our lo­cal fig­ures with global ones. Be­fore we start pack­ing our cases and head­ing off to Es­to­nia or Ma­cau, though, we should bear in mind that the poor broad­band speeds in many ru­ral ar­eas will have brought our na­tional av­er­age down. Hope­fully, by the time the next sur­vey comes out, we’ll have climbed the ranks.

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