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UK Broadband Speeds Still Lag Behind European Neighbours

Michael Behr

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UK broadband speeds
With an average download speed of 51.48 Mbps, the UK pales in comparison to the western European average.

 

A new report has shown that despite some improvements, UK broadband speeds continue to lag behind western European countries.

According to the Worldwide Broadband Speed League 2021 table from cable.co.uk, the UK ranked 43rd globally with an average download speed of 51.48 Mbps. Of the 29 countries in Western Europe, the UK ranked 21st.

That means that the UK’s internet is only ahead of Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, San Marino, Austria, Italy, Guernsey, and the Faroe Islands in Europe

Western Europe has the fastest average internet speeds in the world at 90.56 Mbps, ahead of North America at 71.68 Mbps and the Baltics at 68.06 Mbps.

At the top of the chart, Jersey overtook Lichtenstein as having the fastest broadband in the world. By making full fibre broadband available to all users, it boasts broadband speeds of 274.27 Mbps. Second placed Lichtenstein offers 211.26 Mbps, and third placed Iceland has 191.83 Mbps.

“The acceleration of the fastest countries in the world has finally plateaued this year as they reach FTTP pure fibre saturation. Increases in speed among the elite performers, then, can be attributed in greater part to uptake in many cases than to network upgrades,” said cable.co.uk consumer telecoms analyst Dan Howdle.

“Meanwhile, though the countries occupying the bottom end of the table still suffer from extremely poor speeds, 2021’s figures do indicate that the situation is improving.

“Europe absolutely dominates the leaderboard once again thanks to largely excellent infrastructure.

“In all cases, those countries ranking highest are those with a strong focus on pure fibre (FTTP) networks, with those countries dawdling too much on FTTC and ADSL solutions slipping further down year-on-year.”


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The UK has long lagged behind many of its European neighbours in terms of internet quality. A report from cable.co.uk from a year ago found similar results as the UK’s broadband speeds were placed among the slowest in Europe.

Back then, the UK had fallen 13 places and ranked 47th globally. Its 37.82 Mbps internet speed meant it only ranked 22nd out of the 29 Western European countries.

As such, the UK has seen some improvements, increasing its average internet speed by about 13 Mbps and pushed it global rank up four places.

Back in late 2018, a report warned that a quarter of UK houses did not have adequate broadband services.

Furthermore, a study from June last year found that the pandemic had impacted UK broadband speeds. Polling revealed around a third of UK residents reported poorer quality internet, with 7% of households warning they were receiving much worse service.

Since the pandemic, the internet has become far more embedded into people’s lives. It helped enable work, socialising, and retail for many during lockdowns. As such, maintaining high quality fast internet is essential for many modern businesses.

The report noted that the global average speed broadband speed rose 20% compared to last year, coming in at 29.79 Mbps.

Michael Behr

Senior Staff Writer

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