The state of play in the world of broadband has been charted in the latest research update by cable.co.uk. The UK based telecoms comparison service has analysed and compared 1.1 billion broadband speed tests conducted across 224 countries worldwide to formulate its 2021 Worldwide Broadband Speed League tables, charts, and highlights. A PDF summarising cable.co.uk's findings has been made available, as has an associated Excel file of the results, for further analysis.
Out of the 224 countries in the survey, the UK comes 43rd, with a mean download speed of 51Mbps. With a download connection operating at this speed, a broadband user would need 13mins 16sec to download a 5GB movie. The UK has climbed up from position 47 last year, when our average download speeds were quite a lot slower at 38Mbps. However, other countries have been progressing at a more impressive rate, as the UK was placed at position 34 in the 2019 survey.
Comparing the UK against the rest of Western Europe doesn't make the country look particularly good. In this comparison, we are placed 20 out of 29 countries. However, Western Europe is one of the strongest identifiable regions, with eight of the top ten fastest countries in the world for broadband. The average download speed for Western Europe is over 90Mbps.
Some of the smallest 'countries' in Western Europe earn top merits for broadband. Cable.co.uk notes that the self-governing dependency of Jersey offers the fastest broadband in Europe (and in the world) with an average speed of 274Mbps. Hot on its heels are Liechtenstein (211Mbps), Iceland (192Mbps), Andorra (165Mbps) - and Gibraltar (151Mbps) makes the top five, too. Jersey is the first jurisdiction in the world to make pure fibre (FTTP) available to every broadband user.
Some observations of underlying trends by cable.co.uk are quite interesting. For one, the global broadband speed average has risen rather sharply over recent years. In 2017 the average global broadband speed measured by the survey was just 7.4Mbps, but in 2021, four years later, it is four times faster at 29.8Mbps.
So, we have seen a good few years of solid progress globally, but the acceleration of the fastest countries looks like it is going to stall, the biggest reason being that the best rated countries for broadband are starting to reach FTTP market saturation.