UK broadband speeds continue to lag in Europe

The average download speeds in Western Europe are almost twice as fast as the UK’s

The UK’s broadband speeds are among the slowest in Western Europe, with only nine countries behind it in the region’s speed table: Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, San Marino, Austria, Italy, Guernsey, and the Faroe Islands.

That's according to the latest findings from Cable.co.uk, which today published its annual worldwide broadband speed league.

With an average broadband speed of 51.48Mbps, the UK managed to climb four places in the global ranking in the last year – from 47th in 2020 to 43rd today. Its average speed at the same time last year was estimated at 37.82Mbps.

However, the progress is still minimal in comparison to other states in its region, with the average speed for Western Europe being 90.56Mbps – almost twice as fast as the UK’s.

Eight of the top ten countries in the world for broadband are in Europe, with Jersey being crowned the fastest with average download speeds of 274.27Mbps. The English Channel island is also the first jurisdiction in the world to make pure fibre (FTTP) available to every broadband user. By comparison, the latest Ofcom figures estimated the UK’S FTTP coverage at 21%.

Jersey was followed by Liechtenstein, Iceland, Andorra, Gibraltar, and Monaco.

According to consumer Cable.co.uk telecoms analyst Dan Howdle, these findings are not surprising: “The obvious reality is that the smaller, and broadly speaking the wealthier the landmass, the easier and more likely it is to be among the first to switch its network to FTTP full fibre,” he said, adding that Europe’s domination of the league can be credited to its “largely excellent infrastructure”. 

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“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,” he said.

Dowdle noted that, among the countries with the fastest broadband speeds, the acceleration had “finally plateaued this year as they reach FTTP pure fibre saturation”, meaning that their speed increases “can be attributed in greater part to uptake in many cases than to network upgrades”.

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