Broadband Britain 'lags behind Europe'Study reveals broadband quality gap

01 October 2009

A graphic showing broadband related words on a blue background

A survey of global broadband quality shows Britain lagging behind Europe, ranking 25 out of the 66 countries rated.

The report, released by technology company Cisco, found that while the UK was ‘meeting needs for today’ it lags behind much of Europe including countries such as Latvia and Lithuania in terms of broadband quality.

To find out which UK internet service providers give the best service read the Which? broadband satisfaction survey

Global broadband speeds

Thirty-nine of the countries surveyed have a broadband quality speed that enables them to deliver common applications such as social networking, streaming low-definition video, email and sharing small files such as photos and music.

However, only nine of the countries rated were found to have the broadband quality required for future web applications such as high-definition internet TV viewing - with these countries needing an average download speed of 11.25Mbps and an upload speed of 5Mbps.

Those countries that do meet the standard are South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia, The Netherlands, Denmark and Romania.

The average global download speed was 4.75Mbps while the average upload speed was 1.3Mbps. 

Digital divide

There is still a digital quality divide between rural and city areas. The biggest differences between the quality of city and rural broadband were in Lithuania, Russia and Latvia.

By comparison, rural residents in Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Iceland enjoyed similar, if not slightly higher, broadband quality than those in the city.

Mobile broadband quality

The study also looked at the quality of mobile broadband services and found that while, on average, Wi-Fi services meet the quality required for today’s mobile internet applications, it found that 3G and 3G+ technologies do not meet the quality threshold due to their low upload capability.

The Digital Britain Report has promised to bring a broadband speed to all UK homes by the end of 2012.

Broadband Quality Service: top 10 countries

  1. South Korea
  2. Japan
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Sweden
  5. Switzerland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Singapore
  8. Luxembourg
  9. Denmark
  10. Norway

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