2021 World Broadband Speed League revealed – Europe dominates


Analysis of over 1.1 billion broadband speed tests worldwide has revealed that the UK sits in 43rd place, with an average speed of 51.48Mbps.

The research was designed and compiled by Cable.co.uk, and the data gathered by M-Lab, an open-source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private sector companies. M-Lab is led by teams based at Code for Science and Society, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google, Princeton University’s PlanetLab, and other supporting partners.

The UK manages to trump 181 other countries, yet falls behind 42 others, and behind 21 Western European countries. This puts the UK among the slowest third in the Western Europe region when it comes to average broadband speed.

Last year, the five fastest countries had download speeds around 276 times faster than the five slowest. That gap is narrowing for the first time since the study began in 2017. This year the top five are 202 times faster than the five slowest. This indicates that the fastest countries are slowing in terms of speed growth, while the slowest countries are gathering speed.

As seen in the league table, downloading an HD movie of 5GB in size would take 2m 29s at the average speed experienced in table-topper Jersey, while it would take 22h 34m in last-placed Turkmenistan.

34 of the top 50 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe (Eastern, Western and Baltics), with seven in Asia (Ex. Near East), three in the Caribbean region, four in Northern America, one in Sub-Saharan Africa and one in Oceania. By contrast, 31 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa, six are in Asia (Ex. Near East), four are in the Near East, two are in the CIS (Former USSR) region, five are in Oceania, and one each in South America and the Caribbean region.

94 countries failed to achieve average speeds of 10Mbps or greater, the speed deemed by UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business. This is down from 109 countries in 2020, indicating significant speed improvements in many parts of the world.

Commenting on the UK specifically, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk said: 

“This year, the dominance of smaller states, principalities and self-governing dependencies perpetuates. The obvious reality is that the smaller, and broadly speaking the wealthier the landmass, the easier and more likely it is to be among the first to switch its network to FTTP full-fibre.

“FTTP or ‘fibre to the premises’ technology means fibre-optic infrastructure at every point in the chain, which has the potential to offer far greater speeds than FTTC (fibre to the cabinet), a technology that still uses copper wire to cover the final span between the cabinet and your home. FTTP broadband is only available to around 21% of UK premises as of May of 2021.

“Still, much of Europe remains ahead of the UK in terms of FTTP rollout and uptake.”

For more information go to: https://www.cable.co.uk/broadband/speed/worldwide-speed-league/

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to TechDigest.tv