UK continues to trail EU neighbours for connectivity speeds

UK continues to trail EU neighbours for connectivity speeds

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The UK continues to lag behind many of its European neighbours when it comes to average broadband download speeds, according to a new analysis.

Research conducted by Cable.co.uk and M-Lab found the UK ranked 34th out of 207 countries and territories for average download speed. Although this was a slight improvement from last year, when it was 35th, it remains poorly-placed in comparison to much of the EU.

According to the data, the mean download speed in the UK stood at 22.37Mbps as of May 2019, an increase of around 20 per cent compared with last year.

It found that Europe dominates the top of the table, with 37 of the top 50 nations in this region. Two-thirds of EU countries place higher than the UK, including Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said there is an obvious correlation between investment in FTTP and improvements in download speeds. He noted Ireland, for example, has invested heavily in this technology, which is reflected in its much faster than average increase in speed.

"The UK, meanwhile, remains in the 'experimental' stage of FTTP provision, offering ultrafast in test locations for the most part while making noises about national rollout in the coming years," he continued. "As such, it has lifted only one spot, while (somewhat embarrassingly perhaps) remaining one place behind Madagascar, and in the bottom third of all EU nations."

Mr Howdle said the UK has "few excuses" for the slowness of its FTTP rollout, as there is nothing especially challenging about its geography compared with nations that have already invested strongly.

It's worth noting that Cable.co.uk's findings rate the UK's average broadband speeds as significantly slower than analyses produced by other organisations. Ofcom, for example, found the typical fixed-line speed in the UK stood at 54.2Mbps as of November 2018, while recent figures from Ookla put the UK's speed at 61.75Mbps.

This may reflect differences in methodologies between the different studies, though Cable.co.uk's test, which sampled more than 276 million individual speed tests in 207 countries, may be useful in determining how the UK measures up globally.

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