Best and Worst Broadband Speeds

Where do you think UK broadband ranks right now in the world league table?

Well, given the media reports and general consensus, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were still in the internet dark ages.  But actually…

UK broadband speeds rank in world’s top 25%

Broadband connectivity is now a way of life. Businesses, governments and consumers increasingly rely on faster broadband speeds. At a local level, most people choose to live in areas where Internet connectivity is good and high broadband speeds are available. Businesses rely on fast broadband for obvious commercial reasons, while at a global level countries with faster broadband speeds are more likely to attract international investment. 

That’s why despite being in the top 25%, the UK Government is investing in superfast broadband.  DataKom has been heavily involved in the scheme, helping more than 300 businesses upgrade to fibre in 2015.  The investment in broadband safeguards Britain’s position as a powerhouse, and will keep the economy growing.

What determines broadband speed?

There are several factors that will determine your broadband speed. If your broadband still arrives via your telephone line and you are far from your exchange, this can slow speeds down. Likewise some Internet service providers (ISPs) actually cap your useage depending on the package you have bought. So those paying more get priority. The quality of your cables and modems make a huge difference, as do the number of connections in your home. Inclement weather can play a significant factor in reducing speeds, as does website capacity (a company’s server can crash if it has too many users) and those dreaded viruses. Broadband speeds will also be lower during peak useage, between 6 and 11pm.

Akami State of the Internet report

You might complain about slow broadband performance – especially during peak useage – but according to a recent *survey, the UK ranks 21st in the world for broadband download speed.

In its quarterly ‘State of the Internet’ report published this month, cloud service provider Akamai lists average broadband speed in the UK as a very respectable 11.6Mbps. This places the UK way ahead of Spain, France, Italy and Germany. And compared to standard dial-up speeds of only a few years ago, this is about 300 times faster!

It also makes the UK twice as fast as the global average fixed line broadband – a miserly 5Mbps – an actual increase of 10%. Interestingly among Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions (EMEA), it was Ireland that topped the charts with an average broadband connection speed of 17.4Mbps. The worst performer was South Africa, offering consumers just 3.4Mbps. 

Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands joined South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan in exceeding 15 Mbps average connection speed.

American broadband speeds have improved overall too, averaging 11.87Mbps. However, the benchmark figure of 25Mbps across the country mooted by Obama is still in dream in some states, such as Alaska and Kentucky with figures of below 9Mbp.

What does Mbps mean? 

Broadband speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). These ‘bits’ are actually units of information, with a single megabit representing a million pieces of information. So in theory, the higher the Mbps from your service provider, the faster your broadband – and therefore online activity – should be.

UK mobile 3G and 4G broadband performance


The UK also offers consumers a very decent 20.4Mbps for mobile broadband download speeds – the highest in the EMEA region, knocking our Viking neighbours Norway into second place with its 10Mbps mobile speed. The lowest recorded mobile broadband speed for the first quarter this year was 1.3Mbps in Vietnam.

The future of broadband

Mobile broadband will no doubt see higher take-up and useage than cable/static broadband, with ADSL and 3G being replaced with fibre and 4G – which can potentially deliver 100Mbps or more. WiMAX technology (high-speed broadband via radio waves) might be a contender, but only if it can beat the current market domination of the wireless/roaming sectors by mobile broadband.

Country with the world’s fastest broadband speed 

South Korea takes the top spot for the world’s fastest broadband speed, giving its population an average download speed of a whopping 23.6Mbps. Perfect for the country’s games addicts. And it also led the world in broadband adoption.