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Mediocre Britain: UK broadband ranked 31st in world for speed

Behind Bulgaria and Romania. But spare a thought for Yemen

By Kat Hall, 8 Aug 2017

Broadband in Blighty ranks 31st in the world, with average speeds of 16.51Mbps, according to a comprehensive analysis.

Singapore topped the list with speeds of 55Mbps. Both Romania and Bulgaria beat the UK, racking up average speeds of 21.33Mbps and 17.54Mbps respectively. Yemen came last with speeds of 0.34Mbps.

The data of 63 million global broadband speed tests was collected across the 12 months up to 10 May this year by research bods M-Lab and compiled by broadband price comparison site Cable.co.uk.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said: "Relatively speaking, we are near the top of the table. However, many of those ahead of us – some a long way ahead – are our neighbours both in the EU and wider Europe."

The UK government had previously planned to introduce a legal universal service obligation, allowing customers to demand speeds of 10Mbps. However, since then BT has offered to stump up £600m to provide ubiquitous minimum broadband speeds of 10Mbps by 2022.

BT has previously been accused of causing the UK to fall behind other countries in fibre broadband, as Blighty has just 2 per cent fibre-to-the-premises penetration, compared to Spain, which has 60 per cent.

However, the business has pointed out that the UK still has higher average speeds than many other countries.

Howdle said that superfast rollout is continuing at speed. "Goals are being met, new initiatives undertaken and public funds being made available. However, clearly there are lessons to be learned both from Europe and from those topping the table.

"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 [FTTP] networks, which currently reach only 2 per cent of properties in the UK, compared to Sweden or Latvia, say, where FTTH exceeds 40 per cent." ®

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