Infrastructure > Telecoms

UK ranks lowly 31st in worldwide broadband speed test

Matteo Natalucci Published 09 August 2017

Position shows the UK would fail to get in a ‘Premier League’ of countries’ broadband speeds , a TV and phone comparator, has unveiled a league ranking of worldwide broadband speeds.

The research analysed over 63m broadband speed tests worldwide to find out the countries with the faster broadband speed.

At 16.51Mbps, and in 31st place, the UK lags in the second division of rankings behind 19 European countries, though it does come in ahead of 158 other countries including Italy, France, Ireland and Monaco. Singapore ranks first with speeds of 51.13Mbps, and Yemen comes in last at an average speed of just 0.34Mbps.

The data was collected during the year up to May 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

It emerges that the first five countries have download speeds around 40 times faster than the five slowest. Singapore tops the table at 55.13Mbps, compared to Yemen, which is more than 162 times slower at just 0.34Mbps. Also, 139 countries have a broadband speed performing below 10Mbps, a speed that is deemed by Ofcom as the minimum required to enable consumers to fully participate in a digital society.

To put the numbers in perspective, the research shows the differences in time for downloading an HD movie of 7.5GB. While in Singapore, at the average speed, would take 18 minutes and 34 seconds, in Yemen it would take over two days.

Interestingly, among the top 30 fastest-performing countries, 20 are located in Europe, seven in Asia, two in North America and one in Oceania.

By contrast, among the 30 slowest-performing countries 17 are located in Africa, seven are in Asia, six in South America and one in Oceania.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at, said, "These results offer us a fresh perspective on where we sit in the broadband world. Relatively speaking, we are near the top of the table. However, many of those ahead of us – some a long way ahead – are our neighbours both in the EU and wider Europe."

He added, "Superfast rollout in the UK continues apace. Goals are being met, new initiatives undertaken and public funds being made available. However, clearly there are lessons to be learned both from Europe and from those topping the table."

"Not least the importance of reaching those with the lowest speeds, predominantly in very rural and/or hard-to-reach areas, but also greater investment in hyperfast fibre to the home (FTTH) networks, which currently reach only 2% of properties in the UK, compared to Sweden or Latvia, say, where FTTH exceeds 40%," he concluded.

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesperson said, "Superfast Broadband is now available to almost 95 per cent of the UK, and we are reaching thousands more homes and businesses every week. These figures don't show what broadband is available - they show many people haven't taken up speeds that are already available to them."

DCMS has said its universal service obligation is about providing a safety net for people who have not been reached with superfast speeds to date. It said these are hard to reach premises that are the most expensive to connect. DCMS' thinking is that it wants to meet people's needs as quickly as it is able to "so that no-one is left behind." It says it needs to balance speed with costs and deliverability.

DCMS added that people can check what speeds are available to them by entering their postcode at



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