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Is UK broadband really pathetic?
Tuesday 13 November 2007 11:15:49 by Andrew Ferguson

UK broadband as a whole is undergoing a fair bit of navel gazing at present with various campaigns asking for clearer indications of speeds for consumers. What we often neglect to do is look at what is happening around the world.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) makes the task of looking at other countries much easier as it compiles broadband statistics.


Click image for larger version (Y-axis is in Kbps)

The graph above compares the average advertised speed for various countries in October 2007. The UK sits at 12th place, with Japan, France and Korea occupying the top 3 places. Of course, advertised speed is very different to actual speeds experienced which is what the Computeractive campaign is highlighting.

The reason France out does the UK is because some companies have started to roll-out fibre based connections, which, apart from the odd flagship project in the UK, is years ahead of us. What would be of interest is to see what the average download speed is for people who have 1Gbps or 100Mbps connections. Many web servers are still hosted on a 100Mbps connection in a data centre, so in some countries, the bottleneck has changed from the consumer to the content provider.

Apart from the speeds of our connections which we in the UK seem to enjoy complaining about, usage allowances generally come a close second. The OECD data looks into this area and arrives at a figure of 21GB (GigaBytes) as the average cap for a monthly period, and in 20 out of the 30 countries surveyed, at least one provider imposes some form of cap. There are obviously some countries to avoid, as they calculate the average price per GB over and above the cap to cost (around £17 ($34)). UK providers generally charge in the range 75p to £3.

So is UK broadband pathetic? Well we aren't the top of the pile, but we are also a long way from the bottom. It is probably safe to say we are about average. With the number of people using broadband in the UK, the time is rapidly approaching that a service offering the right combination of raw speed, price and quality of service could move us up the broadband league. Alas this seems unlikely given the current economic instability and the need to offer fairly short term returns on investment to investors.

Update 14th November: An observant reader has spotted a problem with the Y axis on the graph we have featured in this item. The figures are actually expressed in Kilo bits per second, rather than the Mbps the graphs title suggests. The graph is a copy of the one produced by the OECD so the mistake exists in their publication.

Comments

Posted by semitone over 9 years ago
The figure for France is very misleading. They may have high peak speeds but there are rural areas that still have no broadband at all.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
note its average "ADVERTISED" speeds, I know what one thing is the UK is good at and thats spin.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
I know what one thing is the UK is good at and thats moaning.
Posted by evilbond over 9 years ago
I wouldn't say it's pathetic but knowing exactly what your really paying for would be a good step forward.
Pipex anyone?
Posted by PeteK over 9 years ago
@evilbond - Lol, be more selective of your ISP!

Anyhow its nice to see with the exception of the top four that we are certainly median, if not slightly above so...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
My god that chart is a waste of space, whoever did that has too much time on their hands, its vastly inaccurate and tells you nothing about the actual state or speed of connections. My god it even says Irelands average advertised speed is VASTLY lower than the uk's... errr ok.
Lets have a chart measuring average speed a user gets or how about a chart calculating how much on average the world pays per Mb, lets see how well the PATHETIC uk does with real life figures rather than pointless spin. Typical pathetic and pointless blabber.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 9 years ago
quote 'The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) makes the task of looking at other countries much easier as it compiles broadband statistics;.....it doesn't make life easier, have just wasted half an hour on their site downloading each little bit of statistics on a separate spreadsheet. Have proved to myself once again that one can make statistics say anything one wants. Fact remains that only a handful of countries have a worse broadband service than ours. And dear herdwick it isn't moaning, it is just stating facts albeit in the same vein as churchill used to do haha
Posted by BoilingPoint over 9 years ago
Up to 8Mb is a joke, the UK deserves better.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Which is why the UK has up to 24Mbps services to 50% or more of households

I really suspect that the day when DOCSIS 3.0 roles out, or FTTC/H appears we will moan then too.
Posted by samatha76 over 9 years ago
Moan moan moan moan moan moan!!
- "AOL is rubbish"
- "BT home monitoring is good except for data caps oh and they are a cowboy outfit"
- "Tiscali would be great if only they had better customer service"
- "Virgin don't really care"

Come on you lot is it all really that bad! This site should be sponsored by the Samaritans! I am sure you were all complaining about dial-up being too expensive 5 years ago. Broadband is so cheap whoever you go with and speeds are getting faster by the week.

It would be lovely to come back to this site and actually find a positive post.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Broadband is so cheap whoever you go with..."
Broadband in the UK cheap???? I hope this was a poor attempt at a joke!
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
herdwick hardly we very poor at it, we moan on things like forums such as this site but we poor at making a noise in the form of protests and leaving companies that provide poor service.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
andrew yeah up to 24mbit service to my postcode, does that make everything ok? umm wait a sec the isps dont want me because my line is sucky and if any were to accept me on a 24meg service it would barely get a quarter of the up to speed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
And the problems of location in relation to exchange are the same around the world, it is not as if magically ADSL2+ in Finland and Italy is not subject to attenuation.
Posted by doc_holiday over 9 years ago
Seeing Sweden in the top didn't surprise me. I visited my friend who lived way out in the middle of no where (literally) and in his small village they had 24mb ADSL. They never had to run a campaign, etc. and it was cheaper than what I was paying at the time for my 2mb connection here in England.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"And the problems of location in relation to exchange are the same around the world, it is not as if magically ADSL2+ in Finland and Italy is not subject to attenuation."
Well i dont know about italy but im certain Finland has atleast one big 100Mb fibre provider so why most that want speed would buy adsl2+ there is a mystery.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Update 14th November: An observant reader has spotted a problem with the Y axis on the graph we have featured in this item. The figures are actually expressed in Kilo bits per second, rather than the Mbps the graphs title suggests. The graph is a copy of the one produced by the OECD so the mistake exists in their publication."
Like i said the chart is a waste of space, if they cant get the title right i highly doubt they got the actual graph readings correct.
OECD (Organisation for Everything Completely Demented).
Posted by cyberdoyle over 9 years ago
The reason we 'moan' - I like to think of it as making observations on this site is because we come here to find out the news, do speedtests etc. Thinkbroadband is a good site with a good forum. The fact still remains that we are being rooked by the incumbent telco. Instead of saying "up to" in their advertising they should say 'from'. If they said from 510k instead of up to 24meg then people wouldn't be as stressed. They would maybe then come on the forum and bragg about getting 4mbps rofl.
Posted by crossgar1 over 9 years ago
Advertised speeds are a pointless statistic and an exercise in futility. I could buy a 24 Mbps service but my phone line will only support up to 3.3 Mbps - just over an eighth of the advertised speed, so what in heavens name is the point of a bar chart of advertised speeds?
This is just typical of the load of misleading crap that we are fed in this country, from our Government as well as anyone with a vested interest in parting us from our money and shows a complete disregard for the intelligence of the public at large.
Posted by Derek_888 over 7 years ago
UK broadband is absolute TRASH !!!! i have changed my ISP so many times.... i don't see why we should put up with this s***. Why are we paying the full amount yet we only get a fraction of what was promised??...today i was disconnected from my internet 30 times in nearly 2 hrs!!! ...uk is a s***hole..they tax everything yet provide nothing to improve the country's infrasctructure; and the government as you can all see just pockets all the dosh! WHY THE HELL ARE WE WORKING OUR ARSES OFF AND HAVING TO PAY HALF OUR SALARY TO GOVERNMENT ?!! INHERITANCE TAX @ 40% ?! LMFAO . FKUK.
Posted by xurn over 5 years ago
It is as bad as they say it is. I cannot comment here because limited to 600 characters. But I have lived through over 10 years of experience with nothing but bad ISP companies and I change company every year or more often. I will have to pay £190 pm for bonded lines or go with an ISP like AAISP and limit my bandwidth use and get a good service, there is no alternative because their either charge the same range of £25 or so for the same service as BT or plusnet business or want a lengthy contract the same or cap, throttle, traffic shape intern use.
Posted by xurn over 5 years ago
Its really bad. I have to change ISP every 9-18 months because of faults that neither BT or any other retail ISP company can find let alone fix. Ideally we should have 8 exchanges in every town or city, they were originally designed when WWW and Internet did not exist and only for phones, I know all equipment is upgraded but if only you knew the half of it and how their setups are.
Posted by xurn over 5 years ago
It is awful. My lastest experience has been disconnections every few mins and no one can find a fault even. It is ridiculous because it was fine before but this happens every few months no matter what ISP I am with, BT or a LLU one.
Posted by xurn over 5 years ago
Ask yourself why do 300k - 500k young people aged 18-32 leave the UK each year never to return...there are millions of reasons but all in similar or closely related categories. We may as well be slaves, tax, tax tax and more. It is more affordable to live in Moscow (highest cost of living city in the world) or Switzerland that has lower taxes and better quality of life that costs far less to live! UK is rubbish with everything, I agree with the ones that leave the UK and others posts on here.
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