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Is the UK's average broadband speed only half what Ofcom says it is?

Wednesday, March 23rd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

The average broadband speed in the UK stood at 13.9Mbps at the end of last year, according to a new report.

Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report, which covers the fourth quarter of 2015, found the average broadband speed in the UK is more than double the global average of 5.6Mbps.

But 13.9Mbps is also less than half the average UK speed previously suggested by Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator’s Connected Nations Report 2015 found that the average download speed rose from 23Mbps in 2014 to 28Mbps in 2015.

According to Akamai's report, the global average internet connection speed is 5.6Mbps – up 8.6% on the previous quarter and a 23% increase year-on-year – while the average peak speed was recorded as 32.5Mbps.

South Korea topped the table globally, with an average internet connection speed of 26.7Mbps, and was joined in the global top 10 by Sweden, Norway, Japan, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Latvia, Switzerland, Finland and Denmark.

But the UK missed out on a global top 10 ranking in Akamai’s table, with its 13.9Mbps falling short.

According to the report, 89% of UK broadband users achieved speeds of 4Mbps. 50% got speeds above 10Mbps, and 32% achieved faster than 15Mbps.

In its latest State of the Internet report, Akamai put the UK ninth in a list of countries or regions in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) with the fastest average internet connection, below many of the Scandinavian nations and the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Belgium.

'Consumer expectations'

Ofcom's European Broadband Scorecard, published around the same time as the Connected Nations report, found that the UK had the best coverage and take-up of superfast broadband in any major European country, the highest coverage of fast mobile services, and some of the cheapest prices.

Akamai’s report appeared to agree with Ofcom when it comes to UK mobile services, finding that the UK had the fastest average mobile connection speed at 26.8Mbps.

Iran had the lowest connection speed at 1.3Mbps followed by Vietnam with an average speed of 1.8Mbps.

David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report, said: “This quarter’s report shows great year-over-year growth in average connection speeds and overall broadband adoption.

“This is particularly important as consumer expectations rise and many high-profile events, like the summer games in Rio, will be streamed this year.

“The progress we’re seeing across our key metrics shows that, while there’s still work to be done, more parts of the world are increasingly able to support the delivery of broadcast-quality video content online.”

Akamai publishes its State of the Internet report each quarter, including data gathered from across its platform about broadband adoption, mobile connectivity, and cyber attacks.

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