Current and future broadband speeds in the UK and Europe
By AdFeatures | Thursday, April 26, 2012, 16:21
Although broadband in the UK is getting faster, we are still lagging behind our European neighbours. In the latest survey, which was completed at the end of 2011, the UK came 25th in the European broadband speed ratings. A broadband speed test indicates that in the UK only 30% of broadband connections exceeded a speed of 5 Mbps. The most connected country in Europe is Holland where 68% of the population receive broadband speeds of at least 5 Mbps. Although the UK is lagging, great progress has been made over the last year. In 2011, 70% more users received 5 Mbps than in the previous year.
Looking at broadband speeds of 2 Mbps, the UK is still lagging behind, despite the fact that 91% of users get speed above that. It came 11th in the rankings. The country that served the most households with over 2 Mbps broadband is Bulgaria where 97% receive it. Next is the Czech Republic, where 95% receive it.
Originally the UK government planned to provide at least 2 Mbps broadband to all homes in the UK by 2012. That target has now slipped back to 2015. The government is putting the blame on the lack of funding, but it has stated that by 2015 the UK will have the best broadband in Europe (though detailed plans regarding how that is to be achieved have not been published).
In parallel to this, the European Commission has published a proposal to provide super-fast broadband to homes and businesses. Around €9 billion will be made available and the work will take place from 2014 through to 2020. It is intended that the European contribution will be matched by private investment and public money.
Despite it being a long term goal, the plans are quite ambitious. By the end of the project, it is intended that all homes in Europe will have access to broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps and that half of all households will receive broadband speeds that exceed 100 Mbps.
The average broadband speed in the UK is currently 5.01 Mbps which is fairly which is faster than France (3.84 Mbps) but slower than Ireland (7.03 Mbps) and Holland (8.49 Mbps). The average in the USA is 6.14 Mbps, Canada 5.95 Mbps and Russia 4.28 Mbps. The fastest average broadband speed in the world is Japan where it 9.0 Mbps.
There is also considerable regional variation. In the UK, Edinburgh enjoys the fastest average broadband speeds of over 10 Mbps. This compares to London with an average speed of around 6.1 mbps.
Currently, around 70% of homes in the UK can access cable broadband. This is broadband supplied over fibre optic cable rather than over copper telephone lines. Looking at the worldwide take up of cable broadband, it is currently increasing at an annual rate of 14%. In the UK, the only suppliers of cable broadband infrastructure are Virgin and BT, though BT makes its cable infrastructure available to other distributors.
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