UK’s sluggish broadband speeds sees it behind most of Europe

The UK’s broadband speeds have again come under scrutiny after a new study has ranked the country 31st in the world, behind most of Europe, Thailand, Canada, the US and New Zealand. 

The report from has found that the UK has an average download speed of 16.51Mbps – less than half claimed by Ofcom in its UK Home Broadband Performance earlier this year. The regulator, using data from SamKnows, said the UK’s average download speed in 2016 was 36.2Mbps, while Akami had said the countr’y average speed was 16.9Mbps. 

Using more than 63 million speed tests over 12 months up to 10 May 2017, research group M-Lab found that Singapore tops the table with an average speed of 55.13Mbps. For perspective, the firm says that at Singapore’s average speed, downloading a 7.5GB HD movie would take 18 minutes and 34 seconds. By contrast, downloading the same film bottom-placed Yemen (with an average speed of just 0.34Mbps) would take more than two days. In the UK that download would take about an hour.

The report is something of a concern, with the UK lagging behind 19 European countries such as Germany (average speeds of 18.8Mbps) Spain (19.6Mbps), Sweden (40Mbps) and Hungary (23Mbps). Of those 19 European countries, 17 are in the European Union. 

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at, believes that while broadband initiatives are being rolled out across the UK, there are still concerns by how far the country is behind its continental compatriots: “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.

“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.”

The UK is by no means the worst for broadband in Europe though, with France and Italy ranked 37th and 46th respectively. 

This report emerges a week after a group of 57 MPs called on Ofcom to make broadband providers who fail to provide promised speeds compensate effected customers. Last month, BT offered to roll out broadband to the last of the 1.4 million homes in the UK without it. These are mostly rural locations where it has been uneconomical for providers to extend their services.

Global broadband average speed league table

  1. Singapore – 55Mbps
  2. Sweden – 40Mbps
  3. Taiwan – 34.4Mbps
  4. Denmark – 33.5Mbps
  5. Netherlands – 33.5Mbps
  6. Latvia – 30.3Mbps
  7. Norway – 29Mbps
  8. Belgium – 27.3Mbps
  9. Hong Kong – 27Mbps
  10. Switzerland – 26.9Mbps

    31. United Kingdom 16.5Mbps

Source:, M-Lab

Check Also

Smart tech fatigue putting consumers off buying, research finds

Millions of consumers are being put off purchasing smart technology for their homes due to …