UK ranks lower ‘than most of Europe’ for average broadband speed

Britain has an average broadband speed ranked 31st in the world, according to a report from This trails most of Europe, Thailand and New Zealand. It is an issue that must be addressed if the UK is to move forward proactively into the digital future.

Currently, the report found that the average broadband download speed is 16.5Mbps. This average is less than a third of that of Singapore, which tops the global league table measuring broadband in 189 countries.

The UK lags behind 19 European countries, 17 of them in the European Union.

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“These results offer us a fresh perspective on where we sit in the broadband world,” said Dan Howdle, consumer and telecoms analyst at, which produced the report.

“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 European Union and wider Europe. Is it good enough to lag behind 20 other European countries in terms of broadband speed?”

The major European countries that fared worse than the UK included France, which ranked 37th, and Italy at 46th.

This report follows the Ofcom’s goal of achieving a minimum of 10Mb broadband to all UK households, while last month a group of 57 MPs demanded from Ofcom to make broadband providers compensate customers for lower-than-promised internet speeds.

Howdle said that report also revealed the emergence of first world and third broadband pockets, with less developed countries like Somalia, Congo, Gabon and Malawi appearing at the bottom of the list.

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Indeed, 20 of the top 30 fastest-performing countries are in Europe, while 17 of the slowest-performing 30 countries are in Africa. It should be noted that many African countries are likely to bypass broadband entirely and move straight to mobile internet technology.

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

William Newton, president and EMEA MD at WiredScore, commenting on the report, said that even though the UK Government has accelerated its digital leader pledge, “with the country’s digital economy making up a greater percentage of GDP than of any other European nation”, it was clear that “today’s findings show that great strides must be made in the UK’s digital infrastructure if it is to continue to position itself as an attractive place to do business – especially post-Brexit”.

>See also: Are British wireless routers insecure?

“By way of illustration, our own research found that nearly two in five northern tech professionals think that better internet connectivity would make Manchester a more attractive city to UK based tech companies.”

“The Government has already reaffirmed its commitment for a £400 million fund for the national 5G strategy, full-fibre broadband, and plans for a universal service obligation (USO). This will be crucial if the UK is to future-proof its global position in the digital economy.”


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...