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4G City

Broadband speed report sees UK slip in rankings

4G City

Broadband speed report sees UK slip in rankings

Cable.co.uk has published its Broadband Speed League 2018, which sees the UK falling a few places from its 2017 position.

The study assesses the average download speed of 200 world countries in megabytes per second, and works out how long it should take to download a 5GB high definition movie in each nation. For the UK, the average download speed in 2018 is 18.57Mbps, which is well above the global average of 9.10 and up from 16.51Mbps last year.

However, the UK has fallen slightly down the world broadband league, dropping from 31th to 35th place, and is some way behind European frontrunners such as Sweden (46Mbps), Denmark (43.99Mbps) and Norway (40.12Mbps). In Sweden, the hypothetical 5GB movie can be downloaded in a little under 15 minutes, compared to over 35 minutes in the UK.

Eastern Europe is also putting in a strong showing in the world broadband speed league, with Romania (5th in world), Hungary (9th), Latvia (13th), Estonia (15th), Lithuania (17th), Slovakia (21st), Bulgaria (31st) and Poland (32nd) all leaving the UK lagging behind.

Top of the table by some distance, however, is the small and technologically advanced nation of Singapore. With an average download speed of 60.39Mbps, broadband users in the South East Asian country can download a 5GB HD film in just over 11 minutes. Cable.co.uk notes that the small landmass in Singapore puts it at an advantage, but cites its “vibrant digital economy” in helping it lead the way.

The Scandinavian trio of Sweden, Denmark and Norway fill the other top four positions, and Cable notes the strong emphasis on ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) and making it available to significant proportions of homes in all three nations.

FTTP is often referred to as “pure fibre”, and is a system whereby optical fibre runs directly to premises from a central office, bypassing traditional telephone lines. In doing so, it is able to achieve especially high data carrying speeds. Figures from Ofcom show that in the UK, 1.2 million homes had FTTP connections as of December 2017. However, this is only 4% of homes in the country, compared to 60% in Sweden and “over half” in Denmark, according to Cable’s report.

The figures show that the UK, while among the top quarter of world countries for broadband speed as one would expect, is being outdone by nations with smaller land masses or sparser populations, suggesting investment in FTTP is needed to help it move towards the elite.

John Murray

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