UK falls to 18th in worldwide broadband rankings

The UK will stay a mid-range broadband country until fibre arrives, according to a broadband ranking report.

UK falls to 18th in worldwide broadband rankings

The report by Cisco and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford ranked the UK 18th for the quality of its broadband, down one place from last year. The UK tied for the 18th spot with Germany and Estonia, while South Korea and Hong Kong held the top two spots.

“The UK has held its own,” said Tony Hart, associate fellow at Saïd Business School.

The next step-change, in the UK especially, is more deployment of fibre

While “holding its own” may not sound like something to be proud of, Hart said it was an accomplishment given the rate of broadband progress in other countries.

Keeping in the middle of the ranking has required the UK to post a 39% increase in download throughput since last year and 17% in uploads, as well as a 28% decrease in latency, the report said. It listed the average connection speed across the UK as 6.4Mbits/sec.

Hart said there’s only one way for the UK to move up the ranking: fibre. “The next step-change, in the UK especially, is more deployment of fibre,” he said. “Fibre deployment will help us to step into that next band. BT’s plans for fibre deployment will make a change.”

Deployment tactics

Hart said that each country takes a different approach to its broadband, noting the UK has focused on wider penetration and coverage rather than speed of connections, while much of Eastern Europe has done the opposite. “In Eastern Europe, they have high [speed] broadband in the key cities, but ignore other areas,” he said.

That’s seen in London’s failure to be listed as one of 38 “Ready for Tomorrow” cities, which include Tokyo, Stockholm and Paris. London has an average speed of 5.8Mbits/sec.

The UK is also distinctly average when it comes to mobile broadband. “The UK is fairly well in the middle,” Hart said. “Not surprisingly, Sweden and Denmark are at the top, but somewhat surprising was Spain and the US in the third and forth spots, because they’re not renowned for high broadband capabilities.”

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