Broadband News

Bradford has the tenth highest average peak speeds in Europe

League tables always make for good headlines, as the headline to this item shows. The Akamai State of the Internet report for Q2 2011 has resulted in a flurry of headlines about how poor the UK is doing compared to its European neighbours, though not as bad as France which many look towards as a country with much wider availability of fibre networks.

The reality becomes more apparent when you consider the source for the Akamai report. The data is collected by analysing the speed at which material is delivered using the firms own Content Delivery Network and various comparisons can then be made about the online population in each country.

The problem with this approach is that in a country where it is only the rich or those in the enabled parts of the country with access then the results may be skewed. A look at the Google public data explorer gives data on broadband penetration across Europe (graph shows number of broadband connections per 100 inhabitants) shows how varied broadband penetration is across Europe. So Romania at 13.7 has a much smaller penetration than the UK at 30.6, and a further look at the Wiki entry for Romania reveals more information. Mainly that fibre started to appear as a replacement for existing widespread LAN/WAN's in 2006, with it appears most connectivity concentrated in the cities. If the UK had concentrated on rolling out broadband purely to the cities it is very likely our results in the Akamai data would be very different. Also the UK broadband market is one that is driven by price, with the large number of comparison sites creating a competitive market as providers try to undercut each other, which to some extent has resulted in millions now thinking that broadband that costs more than £10 a month is expensive, hence the low take-up of super-fast solutions in some of the areas it has been available to for over a year. The take-up of higher speed services at Virgin Media could be seen as driven by the number of free network upgrades offered over the years.

We are not saying the UK is perfect broadband wise, we have come to the fibre table later than most, but with a Year on Year change of 70% in the number managing to download from Akamai at 5Mbps or faster (30% of results) we would appear to be making up some of the lost ground at last, and we are able to write about fibre deployments a lot more frequently than 12 months ago.

For those who like collecting their stats, we have included a summary table of average connection speeds.

Global Rank Country/Region Q2 2011 Avg. Mbps Quarter on Quarter Change Year on Year Change
1 South Korea 13.8 -4.2% -17%
2 Hong Kong 10.3 12% 21%
3 Japan 8.9 10% 11%
4 Netherlands 8.5 14% 31%
5 Latvia 8.2 29% 31%
6 Czech Republic 7.4 13% 39%
7 Switzerland 7.3 17% 43%
8 Romania 6.8 2.3% -0.1%
9 Belgium 6.4 4.8% 22%
10 Denmark 6.4 13% 23%
12 United States 5.8 9.0% 26%
13 Ireland 6.1 8.4% 19%
19 Slovakia 5.5 15% 33%
20 Portugal 5.4 9.3% 37%
21 Germany 5.3 11% 28%
25 United Kingdom 5.0 9.0% 28%
39 France 3.9 8.8% 17%
56 Turkey 2.7 10% 54%


Reports like this one are interesting, nothing more. Why? Unless there are no choices of supplier, type of service or speed of service within each country being compared, you've no way of comparing like with like.

For example, what % of UK cable customers are on teh fastest availble service? What % of people are on FTTC/P where it is available? WHat % of people with slow ADSL and no cable use satellite instead?

Unless everyone in every country takes the fastest service available to them, you cannot compare performance between countries.

  • New_Londoner
  • over 9 years ago

That said, the top performers are not especially fast, would easily be overtaken by FTTC despite its detractors. And that's before the speed increases to 80Mbps.

  • New_Londoner
  • over 9 years ago

More interesting are the graphs on the site where you can compare countries. Our rates growth very close to Germany's and above France's. Yet people keep suggesting that France has far better BB than the UK. It appears that the averages are not as good right across the board.
Nice steep growth in the last 3 qtrs I assume from FTTC rollout and Virgin. We really ought to recognise that BT is actually starting to deliver, and give them some credit.

  • jumpmum
  • over 9 years ago

I recall a brief BBC (i think) tech news item, where Koreans were complaining that their 100 Mbps were only delivering 30 Mbps. Which was due to their ISP having insufficient bandwidth. Unsurprisingly, this was all down to price, the best ISPs were more expensive but consistently gave 50~60 Mbps.

  • themanstan
  • over 9 years ago


France does have better BB in the select few cities where FTTP has been rolled out.
France, also has a sizable rural population (>20%) and of course France is bigger by area. So their slow lines bring down the average.
FT is going for as much FTTP as possible, which means that BT has probaly overtaken them in terms of properties passed with FTTC (~25 million, 10 million to be passed by 2012-13). FT's goals being 40% FTTP by 2015 and 60% by 2020.

  • themanstan
  • over 9 years ago

What goods an average speed for god sake..... that takes into account everyone.... what about us poor sods at the bottom who 0 to f*&$ all broadband speed!! this country is a joke!!!!

  • Mince1978
  • over 9 years ago

@mince1978 urm the article is saying the reason the UK is so low is because the 12% with under 2Mbps are included.

The joke is improving, or is the concensus view that the moves to improve coverage/speed are a joke too?

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 9 years ago

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