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The UK ranks 31st in the world for broadband speed

If you were to rank 158 nations based on broadband speed, where would the UK find itself? According to Cable.co.uk, which did just that, it sits in 31st position.
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In terms of broadband speed, the UK is behind countries such as Singapore, the world’s fastest with an average of 55.13Mbps, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany, to name a few. This finding, courtesy of Cable.co.uk, has thrown a spanner into our connectivity calculations.

The government has made clear that it hopes to position Britain as a digital leader, reaffirming its commitment for a £400m 5G strategy fund along the way. Plans for a universal service obligation were also unveiled. But these may have been based on broadband speed tests that placed the UK much higher on the broadband chart.

Ofcom suggested the UK’s average download speed in 2016 was 36.2Mbps. An annual report by Akamai placed the UK 15th in the world. But after running several broadband speed tests of its own, Cable suggested both Britain’s ranking and its average speed is much lower – 16.51Mbps, which puts it in 31st spot.

“Relatively speaking, we are near the top of the table,” the company’s consumer telecoms analyst, Dan Howdle, said. “However, many of those ahead of us – some a long way ahead – are our neighbours both in the EU and wider Europe.”

Looking at it from that perspective, WiredScore EMEA MD William Newton further added: “It shows great strides must be made in the UK’s digital infrastructure if it is to continue to position itself as an attractive place to do business – especially post-Brexit.”

That the majority of the top 30 countries are from Europe or Asia brings greater clarity on the difference between the UK and more local rivals. The Netherlands has an average speed of 33.52Mbps, Spain has 19.6Mbps and even the lowest European country in the top 30, Bulgaria, recorded an average speed of almost 18Mbps.

Perhaps its time to learn from other countries. Satescoop recently chalked broadband leader Singapore’s success down to early investment, a heavy dose of initiatives, public policy and and the ability not to shy away from changing corporate structure.

“The nation’s small footprint has spurred leaders to investigate alternatives to traditional services, and this push fuels technology,” it said. “Singapore embraces the idea that to be competitive, its efforts must be extra cunning and twice as quick as those in other countries.”

There, Cable explained, it would take 18 minutes to download a 7.5GB movie. In comparison, it would take Brits an hour to gain access to the likes of Lord of the Rings.

Here’s the ranking in full:

Ranking Country Mean Download Speed
1 Singapore 55.13
2 Sweden 40.16
3 Taiwan 34.4
4 Denmark 33.54
5 Netherlands 33.52
6 Latvia 30.36
7 Norway 29.13
8 Belgium 27.37
9 Hong Kong 27.16
10 Switzerland 26.93
11 Lithuania 25.12
12 Japan 24.47
13 Estonia 24.11
14 Jersey 23.3
15 Hungary 23.16
16 Korea, Republic of 22.9
17 Portugal 21.72
18 Romania 21.33
19 Finland 20.9
20 Macau 20.52
21 United States 20
22 Spain 19.6
23 Slovakia 18.85
24 Germany 18.8
25 Slovenia 18.37
26 Canada 18.03
27 Bulgaria 17.54
28 Czech Republic 17.31
29 Thailand 16.85
30 New Zealand 16.6
31 United Kingdom 16.51

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6G73ZGQ

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Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

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