Analysis of over 163m broadband speed tests worldwide has revealed that the UK sits in 35th place, with an average speed of 18.57Mbps.
The data was collected for the second year in a row across the 12 months up to 29 May this year by M-Lab, a partnership between New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research, Princeton University’s PlanetLab and other supporting partners, and compiled by Cable.
The UK manages to trump 165 other countries, yet falls behind 34 others, coming in behind 25 European countries, 20 of which are in the European Union (EU). This puts the UK in the bottom third of EU member states when it comes to average broadband speed.
The five fastest countries have download speeds around 88 times faster than the five slowest. Singapore tops the table at 60.39Mbps, compared to Yemen, which is more than 195 times slower at just 0.31Mbps.
As seen in the league table, downloading an HD movie of 5GB in size would take 11 minutes and 34 seconds at the average speed experienced in table-topper Singapore, while it would take over one and a half days in last-placed Yemen.
36 of the top 50 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe, with nine in Asia & Pacific, two in North America, two in South/Latin America and just one in Africa.
By contrast, 25 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Africa, 12 in the Arab States with ten in Asia & Pacific, and three in South/Latin America.
136 countries failed to achieve average speeds above 10Mbps, a speed deemed by telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business.
Commenting on the worldwide implications, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, said: “With average broadband speeds rising by 23 per cent in just one year it would be easy to assume an overall positive global picture. However, a closer look reveals the acceleration is concentrated towards the top end: the faster countries are improving more quickly, with those towards the bottom end of the table verging on stagnation.
“Europe, the United States and thriving economic centres in the Asia-Pacific region (Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong) are leading the world when it comes to the provision of fast, reliable broadband, which suggests a relationship between available bandwidth and economic health. Those countries leading the world should be congratulated, but we should also be conscious of those that are being left further and further behind.”
Talking specifically about the UK, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, said: “It’s been very interesting looking at the data for a second year running, not least because we have three times as much of it this time around. It is, however, somewhat sad to see the UK not faring better.
“A number of other countries have leapfrogged us since last year, including France and Madagascar. Compared to many other countries both in and out of Europe the UK has simply come too late to a full fibre (FTTP) solution. Despite plans to roll out FTTP to UK homes across the next decade or so, the UK is likely to fall further behind while we wait.”
Speaking on behalf of M-Lab, Chris Ritzo, Senior Technologist at the New America Open Technology Institute, said: “We’re pleased to see the continued use of open internet measurement data in this research, which supports public understanding of global broadband development.”