G7 countries beat UK in worldwide broadband speed test again

All except Italy, that is

For the second year in a row, the UK is second worst in the G7 league of industrial nations for broadband speed, only faster than Italy, according to a report published today.

Beating the UK's 72.06Mbps mean download speed globally was Japan in ninth place overall (with an average of 122.33Mbps); France (10th with 120.01Mbps); the United States (in 11th place with 119.01Mbps); Canada (17th, with 106.80Mbps) and Germany, which was 33rd in the rankings (with an average of 72.95Mbps).

At 72.06Mbps, the UK average puts it in 19th place out of 28 states in Western Europe, or tenth slowest. Average speeds in the UK are roughly 73 percent of the Western European average (99.00Mbps) – which is an improvement on last year's results.

Commenting on the worldwide rankings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said: "The fastest average speeds in the world are no longer accelerating away from the rest of the field, since FTTP/pure fibre saturation is hitting its current limits in many of the fastest locations."

Howdle added: "In all cases, those countries ranking highest are those with a strong focus on pure fiber (FTTP) networks, with those countries dawdling too much on FTTC and ADSL solutions slipping further down year on year."

This goes some way toward explaining why the five top ranked countries – Macau (262.74Mbps), Jersey (256.59Mbps), Iceland (216.56Mbps), Liechtenstein (166.22Mbps), and Gibraltar (159.90Mbps) – are all either very small or islands; it is much easier to roll out full fiber broadband and 5G mobile internet to a smaller group of people and across a smaller geographical area.

Macau was in eighth place last year but moved to first place this year due to its "increased migration of customers to pure fiber connections."

In July, Openreach – the UK's largest broadband utility – declared its full fiber rollout [PDF] had passed some 8 million premises, which might account for why UK has risen to 35th place from 43rd last year.

All over the globe, average broadband speed has risen yet again, according to Cable. Last year, speeds rose by a mean of 20 percent to hit 29.79Mbps. This year, the average is now 34.79Mbps – a 15 percent rise.

Seeing an increase next year will depend on fiber optic rollouts continuing apace. Recent reports say the price of fiber optic cables has more than doubled in just 16 months due to demand from datacenter and network providers. Market researcher Cru Group said in July that average prices went up from record lows of $3.70 per fiber kilometer in March 2021 to $6.30, claiming this could affect deadlines on "significant" projects.

Michael Finch, a Cru analyst who spoke to the FT, said there were "questions around whether countries are going to be able to meet targets set for infrastructure build, and whether this could have an impact on global connectivity." ®

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