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Britain’s slipping even further down the league table for broadband speeds according to recent research by the comparison website Cable.
Cable’s analysis, conducted by research company M-Lab, was based on 163 million speed tests conducted globally.
The tests showed that average UK broadband speeds used by homes and businesses have dropped to 18.57Mbps. This means the UK has slipped to 35th in the world. At the top of the table is Singapore with 60.39Mbps well ahead of Sweden (46.0) and Denmark (43.99) in second and third.
In January, the government said that more than 19 out of 20 UK homes and businesses had the opportunity to upgrade to superfast speeds of 24Mbps or faster. However, this would still only put us in 22nd place behind Madagascar.
While Cable’s report makes bad reading superficially, Openreach gives it a more positive interpretation. It says the report also shows that the UK’s average broadband speeds have increased 12.5 per cent since 2017.
The newswire, ISP Review, also suggests that such reports are “a poor gauge” when considering the actual availability of faster networks. Given that around 95 per cent of UK premises are estimated to be within reach of a fixed superfast broadband service, we’re still better off than most EU states.
Around 45 per cent of UK broadband lines are still connecting via slower copper ADSL services even though faster connections are available. This may be due to the higher cost of faster services, a lack of awareness or satisfaction with the current speeds.
Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton says: “Reaching the heady heights of Singapore is all but a dream for businesses across Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire as they seek to expand the use of IT services to improve customer service and run their operations more effectively. But since Openreach’s legal separation from BT, it has proposed to roll-out full fibre to around 10 million premises by the mid-2020s. However, this isn’t quite as much as the UK government’s pledge to give 15 million homes and businesses access to full fibre by 2025.”
Businesses that require much higher speeds to support their expansion plans should seek advice from an independent IT consultant who will have worked with other clients and may know of better services or new greenfield sites where faster connections are planned.
Gary Jowett adds: “Companies also need to be more aware about the average broadband speeds available to their customers and business partners so that any new online services they roll-out are tailored to the bandwidth their customers commonly use. Otherwise, their customers could have a poor online experience which could cause them to switch to a competitor’s services.”