back to article Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?

The UK has slipped down the global broadband speed rankings and now sits at 47th place, according to a new report from Cable.co.uk. Blighty's broadband speeds measured 37.82Mbps on average, far below the majority of its Western European neighbours. Topping the table was the tiny tax haven principality of Liechtenstein, which …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regaining Network leadership ?

    Have I heard that before, anywhere? What were they smoking when making that comment?

    I have come across the word laggard many times though. SOunds like number 47 !

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Regaining Network leadership ?

      So where at South Korea, Japan, Taiwan Spain on this list then.

      We have had the literal tits bored off us by people lambasting Openreach waxing lyrical about how full fibre has been provided to Asiatic Moungain bear den, a movie beer farmers summer cabin.

      Messi’s mountain money respiratory.

      ... or have they mustn’t been talking bollocks... as according to Akamai’s registry most have speeds little better than they UK or only up to 100mbit or so.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Regaining Network leadership ?

        Waygu beef - have no idea why corrected to that!

      2. llaryllama

        Re: Regaining Network leadership ?

        Most households in Taiwan choose the cheapest possible internet service, which is usually 100Mbit over copper and costs less than 7 quid a month. 300Mb is slightly more expensive but the 100MBit connections are reliable and unmetered so most people aren't interested. Almost everywhere except very remote mountain regions has access to gigabit FTTB for around 40-60 pounds a month.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Regaining Network leadership ?

          As noted, Taiwan's just a little speck of land, and size matter when you're talking infrastructure. And anyone who complains about the US having shoddy broadband never comments on the infrastructure it would take to wire up say New York to Los Angeles without any weak links. It's not like any countries of comparable size (Canada, China, etc.) fare much better in that department.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Regaining Network leadership ?

      New Zealand documented _exactly_ how BT is abusing the market as part of its study into the BT/Openreach model proposed by Telecom Corporation of New Zealand

      That's WHY it required the company to be cleaved into fully independent lines and dialtone companies before it would provide any further broadband rollout funding

      The recent BT "carve up" is sunply more of the same. As long as the same company owns the lines AND sells dialtone/other services carried on them, it will manipulate the market to suit itself

  2. DavCrav Silver badge

    With no link to the report so I can read its methodology, I'm going to say that I bet it's a pile of garbage. Then I went and looked for the methodology, which is here.

    Unless they chose a random sample of 1000-10000 people from each country and asked them what their broadband speed is, the answer will be wrong. First, it's very unlikely that they did this, so they will likely only be measuring people who actually have Internet in the first place. So all the people whose speed is 0 Mbps (which is important in a lot of poorer countries) aren't counted. Second, I bet it was what people from country X tested on some random speed test website, which gives you nothing, as that is only done by a very specific subset of people. So then I looked at the methodology page:

    "Analysts at Cable.co.uk have analysed speed test data in 221 countries and territories to create a global league from fastest to slowest."

    OK, so moving on.

    Edit: No, I'm not going to move on just yet. Because this is mean Internet speeds, not median. Who are these analysts?

    Edit 2: I'm still annoyed at this. It also only measures achieved speeds. I can upgrade to 500Mbps if I give my ISP more money. But I don't need that, so I don't. So am I 100Mbps, or 500Mbps?

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Edit 2

      I guess the point of measuring speeds that people actually have is that it includes some nod to economic factors with regards to connections. Everyone with a fibre connection could get a 1Gb+ contract, but if the costs involved are prohibitively high, not many people will actually do it.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Edit 2

        "I guess the point of measuring speeds that people actually have is that it includes some nod to economic factors with regards to connections"

        I agree, but then it gives you less information about broadband infrastructure, and more about what people are motivated to purchase.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Edit 2

        "Everyone with a fibre connection could get a 1Gb+ contract, but if the costs involved are prohibitively high, not many people will actually do it."

        Conversely in the USA you'll get 128kb/s on 8Mb/s capable lines, pay $90/month AND have traffic limits - they're charging what they can BECAUSE THEY CAN (legalised monopolies) and this has a huge bearing on broadband speeds

        In Yangon you get 128kb/s GPON connections for upwards of $150/month and you're behind so many layers of CGNAT it's virtually unusable

        Elon's Starlink system has many of the US telcos worried - they've been traced back to the funding source of a number of astroturfing outfits masquerading as astronomy groups (not that there isn't a concern, but Big Money is being directed at blocking Starlink and it's not because the satellites can mess up viewing a bit around dusk and dawn)

        Starlink has other regeimes worried for the simple reason that it can bypass firewalls (and anyone who believes that the choke points being applied in places like Myanmar aren't there for discouraging international web browsing is naive. Traffic goes onshore from multiple cables cables, goes to Napaydaw (150 miles inland) through military controlled routers and is only then routed around the country. No ISP can buy direct offshore bandwidth and the existing geostationary systems via Thailand are simply far too expensive for the average burmese village (let alone family) to afford.

    2. SuccessCase

      Agreed. But even with the methodology you suggest, it is probably still misleading.

      People don’t know their own broadband speed and believe what they are told. “Broadband Speed” is a term that has a very wide range of interpretation. I am absolutely clear that my broadband from Zen is better than my neighbours and friends broadband from providers advertising a higher headline rate. In fact the headline advertised speed is in so many ways one of the figures of lesser importance.

      Additionally, average speed does not necessarily reflect opportunity and choice. If broadband is slow in the UK because there are providers like Talk-Talk providing service to people like my dear Mum was, when she was alive, who was perfectly happy if she could make the odd FaceTime call, then that actually is sufficient. Talk-Talk would annoy me beyond belief but she could have gone to Zen if she wanted to. She didn’t.

      I’m not saying the choice is as good as it should be for all of the UK, but it is another factor to be considered. I don’t know if or how the survey accounted for this, because as you say, the methodology isn’t clear on the basis of this article.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "But even with the methodology you suggest, it is probably still misleading."

        I agree. You cannot capture something like this with a single number. One option would be to ask a random sample to run a speed test on a variety of sites, with a purpose-built device plugged directly into the router, and report the results. That would be better, but still not good enough.

        I guess it depends on what you want the number for. In this case, they want the numbers to make a story.

      2. NATTtrash Silver badge
        Meh

        "Agreed. But even with the methodology you suggest, it is probably still misleading."

        Furthermore, there are quite some standard beginner errors in the stats here. As the article says:

        "Funnily enough, there's a weird trend for nations popular with non-doms to have nippy internet. Who took third place? You guessed it, another microstate: Andorra."

        Every first year student knows that, if the sample size is smaller, the mean/ modus might be skewed (strongly), since the small sample size makes the weight and impact of the "exceptions" stronger. So I'll leave it to the commentards here to contemplate the bias introduced by comparing these national samples, when a quick MIN and MAX shows the range in results is 1.3023 ≤ measurements/IP/country ≤ 40.914. As always, it would be great to look at the raw data, but that isn't available. I wouldn't be surprised that, with means skewed and a large spread of data, a multivariate would show no significant differences at all.

        So... (see icon)

    3. ThatOne Silver badge

      > they will likely only be measuring people who actually have Internet

      Well, when the question is "What is your internet speed", then obviously there is no point in asking those who don't have any internet access. Much like "What's your children's age" doesn't really concern those without any children. Average children age won't get younger because many people don't have any...

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Well, when the question is "What is your internet speed", then obviously there is no point in asking those who don't have any internet access."

        Sure, except Internet is a utility. When asking 'what is the water pressure in your area?', you are perfectly entitlted to answer '0' if they haven't bothered to connect you up.

        1. Jeffrey Nonken

          Depends on what you're measuring.

          If you're measuring speed per connection, then including people without connections is wrong.

          Speed per person: technically, yes, scribbling in "0" for those without connections is arguably correct. How meaningful is this number? If you have a town full of Luddites who refuse to connect regardless of availability, it's going to lower your average; but piping 10-gigabit fiber to every home in that town won't change anything except the level of money in your pocket.

          "Entitled to answer 0 if they haven't hooked up your water" is not a very good analogy and is probably a red herring. Where I live, you can't have a legal residence without having active water, sewage, and electric service; but phone and internet service aren't considered to be necessary for it to be habitable. So if I'm not hooked up to water, "0" is a meaningless number because either there's a temporary service interruption (which is counted in a different way), it's not a legal residence, or it's time to call a lawyer. Sorry, but "there is no water" isn't the same as "water pressure is zero".

          And it's hardly fair to count somebody's internet connection as 0 if they don't want one. It's like saying my phone service is crap because I haven't asked for a phone line. Your local grocery store doesn't carry food because you don't shop there.

          Average or mean or median or whatever connection speed is one metric, but "per person" seems like a weird way to go about it. Let's see -- posit two homes, side-by-side. Both have identical service. One has 10 people living there, the other has 2. Are you going to divide the connection speed by the number of people living there? What if three of them are hanging out next door?

          OK, you didn't say "per person", let's say you mean "per household." If a household is comprised of people who get all their Internet via phone service, one phone per person, how are you counting them? Do you add all the phones' rates and come up with a total? No, can't do that -- you've already said you didn't want a per-connection rate. But obviously 10 people armed with 100Mb connections (let's pretend they're actually getting that) will total 1Gb of available data. What happens if one household has two wired connections? Because I've done that myself. Two ADSL connections; one for me, one that everybody else shared. Per household was the sum of the two, but it seems to me that you have to count that as two connections; it required two phone lines, two modems, two routers, and twice the cost per month.

          Hey, I could have brought in a third line. So if we're counting things your way, I should count that as a third line at "0" because I chose not to.

          What about an abandoned house, or one at least with nobody in residence? What does that count as?

          I have three phones. (Please don't ask why, I'll start to whimper.) What is my available speed? I can't meaningfully aggregate the connections. OTOH I could, say, watch Youtube on one while downloading movies on another. But is the aggregate speed really useful? Most of the time I'll be using one at a time, with the other two effectively idle. (Actually, the oldest phone sits in my car and plays music while I'm driving. It's more convenient than playing silly buggers with the connections every time I climb in.) And yet, they are three separate connections. I COULD perform multiple actions if I needed to. Or I could lend one to a friend who left his charger at home. Or... whatever.

          If you don't understand why people are disagreeing with you, that's why. Any speed metric that isn't "per connection" doesn't make sense, because you end up with a metric that isn't really useful. Running around trying to count _potential_ connections as part of a data rate statistic? That way lies madness.

          Mind you, there ARE things you can do with what you're saying. If there's a place where there are homes and businesses that can't get Internet, then that's not the same as saying they're getting 0bps of service; but there IS a metric that applies: percentage of homes or businesses that have service available. If you want to argue that that's at least as important a statistic as speed, then a lot of people will agree with you. It's just that you're trying to lump it into the speed metric, which makes both metrics invalid.

          And then there's the listed-vs-actual bandwidth. Or the burst-vs-steady bandwidth. I'm on gigabit cable, which means that at 6pm I'm probably sharing my bandwidth with my neighbors; but at 3am, probably not so much. So there are arguments about all of that, and they're probably all valid things to measure and report, and TFA's quoted report is probably over-simplifying by ignoring all that.

          Please don't fall into the same trap.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        They are reporting what the average speed is for the whole country. This means they need to ask a sample of everyone not just those with Internet. If the only Internet in a small country is in a government datacentre running at 10gbs then is the average speed 10gbs or 10gbs/10,000,000 or 1mbs per person?

        I'd go with the smaller number.

    4. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      There are very few people in the world now who don't have internet connection. It may be 2G on a very cheap Android, but it is an internet connection.

      1. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4
        Stop

        You're talking rubbish. Come to the Philippines and see how many people struggle to afford a second hand feature phone, let alone anything with apps. And broadband at home is way beyond many people's reach.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          I looked at the Philippines:

          4 broadband connections per 100 inhabitants. Yes. That is very low.

          127 mobile phones per 100 inhabitants. For comparison, the UK has 122, and the US has 129. So, about the same.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            That still doesn't prove that "There are very few people in the world now who don't have internet connection." For one thing, those numbers don't state how many of those phones are capable of using internet. If it's a feature phone with 2G, then it probably doesn't do internet at all. If the local network is 2G, it's likely that the population isn't using it for internet even if their phones technically could.

            However, the original statement was about the world, so let me find some countries that are more to your liking:

            Chad: 1 fixed line per 100 inhabitants, 52 cellular per 100, 16 million people in total

            Haiti: 1 fixed per 100, 61 cellular per 100, 11 million total

            Kiribati: 1 fixed per 100, 43 cellular per 100, 110K

            Pakistan: 1 fixed per 100, 71 cellular per 100, 208 million total

            Papua New Guinea: 2 fixed per 100, 55 cellular per 100, 7 million total

            Sudan: 1 fixed per 100, 77 cellular per 100, 43 million total

            Those are some large gaps. In addition, it's worth keeping in mind that a bunch of connections can still be in one particular area, particularly if people are using multiple devices or if companies deploy cellular infrastructure (usually, the number of connections counts individual devices, and they don't care that a company may have deployed a hundred devices for corporate purposes and people aren't using them). For context, it's worth keeping in mind that, even with it's 1.27 connections per person rating, the Philippines is estimated to have 20.6 million people without access to electricity. I'll grant that a phone is easier to keep charged when power is problematic than most other electronics, but I'm still guessing that some of those people can't afford a phone any more than they can afford mains power.

            1. katrinab Silver badge
              Meh

              Take Pakistan for example. 40% of the population are under 14 years old. When you take that into account, 71 phones per 100 people still means that most of the adult population have one. The 13% 0-4 year olds almost certainly won’t, no matter how rich they are, and very few of the 15% 5-9 year olds will have a phone.

              Also, in poorer households there will often be one phone shared by multiple family members, which will to some extent offset the richer people who have more than one phone.

              The iPhone 1 was a 2G feature phone. It had internet access. It worked. Obviously not as well as later models. Cheap feature phones today will be at least as good as that.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                I really don't think that's how it works. If 71/100 meant that 71% of the population had a device, it might be arguable that the age disparity explains it. However, given the figures for developed countries, I'm guessing the truth is very different. Germany, for example, has 55 fixed connections per 100 people and 132 cellular connections per 100. It's possible that this means that nearly all Germans have a device, 32% have a second one, and a little over half the people still use fixed lines. I think it's more likely, however, that most of the fixed lines are going to corporate or government offices, and a lot of the cellular devices are likewise. This especially applies as some of these devices might be IoT things using the network.

                It seems we are unlikely to agree on what exactly these numbers mean for the availability of networks, so let's look at a different set. Wikipedia has a table estimating the number of internet users from subscriber information and surveys. Each row of this table could be disputed, but I think it's likely that most rows are trustworthy. It is estimated there that 38.66% of Pakistanis accessed the internet in the last year. The reason this number doesn't surprise me is that, even where mobile phones are available, there isn't necessarily data usage from them. A phone attempting to do much online over 2G isn't going to succeed very well. Modern feature phones may have web browsers, but modern web pages are going to take forever to load across the miserably slow connection and they're also going to render badly. Also, if people are having trouble affording things, they probably aren't using the most recent of feature phone designs. An old 2G phone still works fine if the area has that capacity. What's more, most contracts I have seen offering 2G data are close to extortionate. For people using feature phones, they're unlikely to afford routine data use. Also keep in mind that it is estimated that 50 million in Pakistan don't have electricity, which demonstrates the level of financial difficulty they're in. Meanwhile, calls or SMS messages are usually much cheaper. This doesn't have to apply to everyone; 82 million users is still a lot of users, but if there are such areas then we can't really claim to have worldwide penetration.

                1. katrinab Silver badge

                  I do accept that 71/100 doesn't mean 71% of the population has a phone. Obviously in Western and Far Eastern countries where it is 120-130/100, there's going to be people with more than one phone. I'm in the UK and have two phones.

                  In Pakistan, the target market for mobile phones is somewhere between 60-72% of the population. Some 10-14 year olds, particularly at the older end of the age bracket, will have phones. In any country, there will be people who could easily afford a phone, but don't want one. I know a few people like that.

                  But I think, based on those numbers, you can say that most (not all) Pakistanis have a mobile phone.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Been there. I guess it's a matter of perspective because if you say P3000 (about $60) for a decent Android phone (and this was two years ago) is too much, we must be looking at two different parts of the country. BTW, I got a relative a new feature phone for about P750 ($15). Access depends on the plan you pick, but I recall them offering some decent plans with Internet access for P1000 ($20).

          PS. Facebook subsidizes a lot of the Internet access there. Buy some groceries, get some codes, etc.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    Of course it would be like this

    Smal country = easy to wire up.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Of course it would be like this

      And not much contention.

  4. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    The UK is starting to regain its network leadership with 5G

    And therefore COVID-19 too?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      The UK's record breaking Covid-19 numbers came first.

      Perhaps we've got it the wrong way round, maybe it should be Covid-19 causes 5G.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here

        In that case, we are going to look SO silly for criticising UK.gov's Coronavirus response when we have the world's greatest and cheapest density of 5G in a year's time!

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Def Silver badge

    Fictional report is fiction

    Where's the link?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Fictional report is fiction

      Here. I wouldn't bother. The latest Lee Child novel is more entertaining and about as realistic.

    2. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Fictional report is fiction

      Apols, I seem to remember adding it but apparently I did not. In now.

  7. DaemonProcess

    Forex, speed of connection etc

    It started with forex, then general stocks, commodities, now it is crypto tokens. Speed of trade is a factor in margin. I have seen trillions in trade$ move from continent to continent every day. Locate your offshore tax-limited trading in a small country and ensure (bribe) the leaders pay for high speed connections. I am sure someone will be trying to split photons to see if they can beat physics next.

    The small wealthy population gets a bonus.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Forex, speed of connection etc

      Isn't it latency at least as much as bit-rate that matters in high speed trading?

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Forex, speed of connection etc

        Yes, latency. Read the first chapter of Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, where the cost of laying a dead-straight dedicated fibre link from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the Nasdaq in New Jersey is justified by a saving of a couple of milliseconds.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Forex, speed of connection etc

        Gaming even more so. Gamers can wait for their large downloads but if they lag in the game they get shot.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Forex, speed of connection etc

      Yes, lax financial laws leaves plenty of room for the "money makers" to make it worth the ISPs while too, I wonder what the average speed is in the Cayman Islands? Follow the money!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forex, speed of connection etc

      "Locate your offshore tax-limited trading in a small country and ensure (bribe) the leaders pay for high speed connections"

      The problem is when you locate your brass plate LLC front company in the UK (or Delaware in the US) in a back street fags'n'mags shop and all 20,000 of you have to share a 2Mb ADSL line with the elderly couple living over the shop

  8. James Anderson Silver badge

    What surprises me is the United States was ranked a lofty 20th.

    This does not tally with anecdotal experience of US broadband providers.

    1. Fazal Majid

      US broadband is still better than the UK ersatz

      For starters their equivalent of the ASA doesn’t let carriers market shitty DSL as “full fibre”, and most broadband connections are DOCSIS cable or fiber. I went from 1Gbps symmetrical to 72/20 theoretical (32/16 real) when I moved from San Francisco to London.

      1. mootpoint

        Re: US broadband is still better than the UK ersatz

        Sounds like you need to change supplier - Hyperoptic does 1Gbps symmetrical fibre in London for £45 a month.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: US broadband is still better than the UK ersatz

          Ah yes, London == entire UK.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: US broadband is still better than the UK ersatz

            But London's also the biggest and densest part of England, full of potential customers. It's basically like one of those small countries.

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      The rural parts of the USA are very rural so harder to connect than the UK. From posts online US broadband is far worse than UK.

    3. Damage

      US provision seems very polarised. Verizon offer almost symmetrical Gigabit in places (at least near DC), Comcast in similar areas is very asymmetrical 1Gb/40Mb. On a weekend away recently, I enjoyed 20Mbps via satellite or patchy 4G mobile.

      The US market seems quite strange as well - my area is supplied by Comcast, Verizon is not an option. Perhaps other areas have more competition?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leadership

    5G wont be widely available for 10 more years in the UK, going by the past performances and feet dragging by the networks, topped up by the Trump Diktat on Huawei equipment. (My worldwide research - dont ask me the methodology).

    Leadership? My ass. Not in my life time, anyways.

    Who is paying these researchers for farting from their mouths?

  10. diguz

    this isn't credible

    This report isn't credible... of course Luxembourg has fast internet, it's a tiny state in the middle of the continent.

    Take Italy for example: in my house in Bologna i have FTTH with 1gbps, and that's stable, whereas at my parents' house in Sardinia we have a pokey ADSL which is sold to be 20mbps but in a good day reaches 12 (measured wit ookla speedtest).

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: this isn't credible

      Mean speed: 506Mbps.

      1. jockmcthingiemibobb

        Re: this isn't credible

        Yep, that's what they do here. Handful of town connections get 8Gb connectios, the rest are on lousy sub 5Mbps DSL or worse. Next minute everyone is patting themselves on the back for the average connection being over 1Gbps.

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: this isn't credible

      12meg should be fine. It depends on what you want to do and the quality of that connection. If there is a lot of bandwidth shaping, high contention, latency and blocking of ports, IPs and protocols then it could be terrible. Also these days the up speed ought to be just as important, for example video calls.

  11. LDS Silver badge

    Meanwhile, in Italy, the incumbent successfuly stopped the FTTH competitor

    TIM, the ex state monopoly telco, successfully lobbied the government to crate the "One Network", basically forcing OpenFiber, the company born to deploy FTTH and that won the bids to deploy the state-funded broadband network, to surrender its network and be integrated into a new company of which TIM will own more than 50%, using a shell company to look like a wholesale-only entity, but controlled by the incumbent - basically a return to a monopoly.

    That after TIM was fined by the antitrust authority, because it was found using its dominant position to try to hinder OpenFiber FTTH deployment in "market failure" areas which was declared as such after a public consultation with telcos - including TIM - to know which areas would not see any private investments.

    TIM lost the bids for the state-funded network because it proposed mostly VDSL (FTTC), while OpenFiber proposed moslty GPON (FTTH).

    The reason used was that the network is a "national asset" - so national that TIM major shareholder is Vivendi (and most of its share are held by foreign investors) , and it's selling a 38% stake in the network to the US fund KKR, while another investor that should buy the ENEL partecipation in OpenFiber could be the Australian fund Macquarie. That's because TIM has a 20Bn debt and is desperately looking for cash. The operation is basically a TIM bailout - killing competition, avoiding the quick depreciation of its copper network slowing down the FTTH deployment, and soon making a private company debt a taxpayers one, through the state-owned fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

    And you believed Pai and the FCC were bad.... the only hope is Vestager will investigate the affair and find it breaking antitrust laws.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, in Italy, the incumbent successfuly stopped the FTTH competitor

      "TIM, the ex state monopoly telco, successfully lobbied the government to crate the "One Network", basically forcing OpenFiber, the company born to deploy FTTH and that won the bids to deploy the state-funded broadband network, to surrender its network"

      And how, _exactly_ will they compete with Elon's Skylink system?

      Banning it? Yeah right....

      Times are about to change and markets which didn't actually have competition are about to start facing at least one real competitor they can't stomp out

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile, in Italy, the incumbent successfuly stopped the FTTH competitor

        For now they killed the competitor that was going to menace them badly - Starlink has yet to come and prove it's a competitor - then it's easy to ask for a law limiting antennas installations....

        Anyway because of the CLOUD Act I would be very careful to use Starlink. I also wonder what happens if a US company owns partially a foreign network - does the CLOUD Act still applies?

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Meanwhile, in Italy, the incumbent successfuly stopped the FTTH competitor

      This has happened before.

      The EEDA quango in the UK ran the Broadband NOW campaign back in 2003 to 2004. They were only interested in funding small community broadband projects (Wireless ISPs) in areas of "market failure" or where BT have declared that they will not supply ADSL.

      Oddly enough every time an area met the qualifications BT would announce that the particular area would be getting ADSL. Win Win all round, WISPs found alternative funding, villages got Broadband and EEDA kept all the money.

  12. Bassey

    Pot, Kettle, Black

    Your theory is kind of spoilt a little by the UK's dismal showing. You know the UK? That offshore Tax Haven

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Pot, Kettle, Black

      We're not a proper tax haven yet. We will be next year but one where no-one pays tax because they arent earning anything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pot, Kettle, Black

        You're obviously not a reader of Private Eye and their endless stream of reports on non-doms, exiled oligarchs, brass plate companies, 'tax efficient' corporations and HMRC deals (you can download some special reports from their website if you are too cheap to buy a copy)

  13. Kristian Walsh

    Measuring what's easy to measure, not what's significant

    This survey is the equivalent of estimating a country’s road traffic journey times by using the average top speed of the vehicles sold there each year.

    First error: by using speedtest data, they’re basically just measuring the speed between the user premises and the next hop in the network. That doesn’t tell you about backhaul provision (hi Cable ISPs!) or consistency of service (ibid.). Use an “off-brand” speedtest website and you can see your reported download figures tumble.

    The other problem is that measuring speedtests is confounded by pricing structures of the providers more than the actual network capabilities. If providers in Country A give a 20 Mbit service for €15/mo, an 80 Mbit service for €20/mo, and a 200Mbit/sec for €35/mo, people like me will take the cheapest one that exceeds my peak bandwidth requirement (which, incidentally, never rises over 20Mbit/sec). Lots of users living on their own, who want Internet for occasional use will also go for the services with low bandwidth caps on cost grounds. But in another country, where operators only offer the 200 Mbit/sec option for €35/mo in an effort to maximise revenue, that country’s network to be considered faster, even though both are the same capacity.

    The only legitimate way of determining this survey's results would have been the hard way: discover the share of domestic connections by carrier type (DOCSYS, xDSL, FTTP, UMTS), and then apply an empircially-derived performance figure per technology (and generation) to those connection counts (thus, a 1 Gbit cable connection scores far, far less than a 1 Gbit FTTP), and look at the amount of trunk network capacity in the country.

    1. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Measuring what's easy to measure, not what's significant

      Yeah, speedtest.net likes to have a testing server inside the ISP as close as possible to the customer.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Measuring what's easy to measure, not what's significant

        "speedtest.net likes to have a testing server inside the ISP as close as possible to the customer."

        ISPs like to have a speedtest.net testing server inside as close as possible to prospective punters.

  14. Alan Brown Silver badge

    no mention of IPv6?

    TalkTalk and a few others are STILL not offering this

    With the increasing number of IPv6-only resources, why won't Ofcom rule that IPv4 is "walled garden", not an ISP?

    1. James Anderson Silver badge

      Re: no mention of IPv6?

      IPv6 isn't hat a bit like 8 track tapes.

      Nice concept but never really took off.

      1. Joe Montana

        Re: no mention of IPv6?

        Lack of ipv6 is one of the biggest reasons why connections in developing countries are poor... Sharing a small handful of ipv4 addresses with thousands of customers, overloaded and highly expensive nat gateways, no inbound connections, ip blacklisting hitting thousands of customers at once etc.

        Delaying the rollout of ipv6 allows incumbent providers with large allocations of ipv4 to raise the barrier of entry, making it much more expensive for any new provider to offer service.

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: no mention of IPv6?

          This sounds like a failure of IPv6. If it's so good then why can't you run your country on IPv6 and have a gateway to IPv4? Unless a technology is so much better than the existing technology it will get nowhere if you have to throw away a good thing to buy a much more expensive slightly better thing.

          The automobile was always much better than a horse and carriage.

          The electric car has some advantages and disadvantages. The only way that will win is with an attack on the internal combustion engine such as the unavailability of petrol.

          Make it so I can access IPv4 from IPv6 then it will probably start being used.

          1. Joe Montana

            Re: no mention of IPv6?

            You can, it's called NAT64 and several mobile operators already work this way, such as t-mobile usa.

            Many other providers also run dual stack, where you have both protocols at once so you can still access both.

            Most users do not actually have proper ipv4 these days anyway, they are behind nat and in many cases don't control the gateway. At least with ipv6 you get a proper internet connection that's under your control.

  15. Chewi
    Thumb Down

    Small islands are small

    I can't speak for all the locations mentioned but Jersey's position is surely much more to do with it being a small island, which made ripping out all the old copper and laying fibre everywhere relatively easy. Before they did that, broadband speeds were relatively poor. It probably also helps that Jersey Telecom charges stupid amounts to dial into the island, even from the UK. 18p/minute from a pay monthly EE SIM!

  16. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Of course, one could also argue that it's fairly straightforward to deploy FTTP when your country is the size of a regulation five-a-side football pitch

    This is the actual and only reason.

  17. Flak

    Line or sync speed vs. end device speed?

    I wonder how many 'bad' experiences are down to end user WiFi or even the end device capability, particularly when assessing higher transmission rates.

    Having said that, my own direct (and indirect) experience in the UK is that there is a clear line between the connected and unconnected. Averages paint over that dichotomy.

  18. rajkumarjoy26

    In this pandemic situation where every people at home to save them from Covid-19. Actually, people don't have enough work at home for those who work in out. In this situation the people spend their time in social media or other platform. But the problem is, server are down for more traffic and other situation happen that some where people are not going out to adjust cable connection. I hope this will be finished as it time. In this take care all of you.

  19. James Anderson Silver badge

    Move to Spain

    The internet is slightly slower than Norway or the Netherlands, but, the weather is much better.

    In my bit of Spain 300MB fibre is standard and 500mb and 1gb available for not much more money.

    Although the '300MB' is really "up To 300MB'. I have measured mine between 20MB at worst and 250MB

    best.

    Spain is the complete opposite of Italy, Their are lots of small agile ISPs providing fibre and

    the government forced Telefonica to share their cable ducts (the holes in the ground).

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Move to Spain

      The weather is mostly better. I fear the summers will be too hot for normal people and may lead to the place being burned down.

      1. baud Bronze badge

        Re: Move to Spain

        If you want to live Spain, but fear the summer heat, the Basque Country has some nice places that don't get too hot

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Move to Spain

          Catalunya also has some nice places.

  20. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Happy

    Blairite NuSpeak

    Never really understood what 'Stakeholder' meant...

    1. James Anderson Silver badge

      Re: Blairite NuSpeak

      Does this help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGPLS3lNIxc

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Blairite NuSpeak

      Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tiny rich places the size of a city have better Internet than a middle sized country with quite a lot of countryside and small towns.....shocker.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      But most places that folk live in, in the UK, are quite densely populated by most world standards. So like lots of little islands.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And they have largely decent Internet.

        I live in a poor largeish northern town and I get half a gig from Virgin. Things could be better, but they're not woeful.

  22. Commswonk Silver badge

    Lies... Damn Lies...

    Statistics... and Internet Speeds.

    I have all but given up on using a speedchecker here for the simple reason that the results returned by different speedcheckers vary wildly; not just by 1 or 2 % but anything up to >40% (IIRC). Different checkers seem to carry out tests from widely different locations; living in Lancashire I can cope with a server in Preston but Amsterdam? (Yes that really happened once. A test this morning was more local with Sheffield at the other end)

    I know that in many respects it shouldn't matter that much with my FTTC probably being the limiting factor (wifi not used to this PC) but it is difficult to regard any given result as "reliable".

    1. Joe Montana

      Re: Lies... Damn Lies...

      These speed checker sites are pretty useless...

      Some ISPs prioritise traffic to speedtest sites to make themselves look better.

      Some speedtest sites are hosted on 1gbps or 100mbps links etc, which may be shared with other functions. Your line may actually have more spare capacity than the site, making it the bottleneck.

      Just because a speedtest site is located locally to you, doesn't mean the routing is direct. You may be in lancashire, but your isp might have a lot of peering links in london, so traffic from you to preston or sheffield might go via london and back which could result in latency similar to amsterdam.

      Performance will often be better over ipv6, but many speedtests don't support it (or don't declare what protocol they use), but real world traffic will prefer ipv6 whenever its available.

      Your network performance to an arbitrary speed test site is not important. What matters is connectivity performance to things you actually use. How much of what you routinely access is located near you? I bet most things you interact with are hosted in london or abroad.

    2. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: Lies... Damn Lies...

      To a certain extent this is very like cars. At the higher speeds it is almost irreverent what the actual numbers are as you will never use it.

      Today most cars have top speeds (and are capable of attaining them) in excess of most speed limits and in the UK all speed limits.

      Some can get there faster and do it more easily and some have a limiter to prevent a set point being exceeded even though the marketing bumpf, a guy in a white suit and helmet who never speaks and the speedo go up to 200mph.

      I don't really care what the absolute speed of my broadband is as long as it performs well for the required workload, is reliable and is not costing a huge amount.

      1. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Lies... Damn Lies...

        "At the higher speeds it is almost irreverent (sic) what the actual numbers are as you will never use it."

        Until you have to download Flight Simulator at a whopping 90GB. And you discover you will have to wait 7 days to get it done.

        Better go buy beer and sip it SLOWLY while you wait for your irrelevant speed internet to chug along.

  23. Hazmoid

    Don't know what you are complaining about

    Australia only ranks 62. New Zealand 26.

    So stop ya B!tching UK you still do better than us schlubs in the Antipodes with the crappy National Broadband Network foisted on us by your new Marketing manager Tony Abbott.

    1. julian.smith
      Unhappy

      Re: Don't know what you are complaining about

      Another area in which Australia has been lapped by NZ

  24. Joe Montana

    Other factors

    Most of these tax havens are small, affluent and densely populated. You don't have to lay miles of cables past houses containing only one potential customer, you lay short runs to large apartment blocks containing many potential customers. The economics are very favourable.

    Developing countries have different problems... Laying fibre is usually cheap because there are few or no regulations. It's not necessary to dig up the street, obtain permits or ensure the installation is tidy. Instead, fibre will just be strung up on poles leaving very unsightly bundles of wires along the streets. It would be extremely easy to have multi gigabit networks spanning most cities in developing countries.

    Where this all falls down however, is the fact that ipv4 was never designed for such a large network and most of the available ip addresses are already allocated to developed countries leaving only scraps for new providers. Whereas in the uk you will typically get your own ipv4 address at home, in developing countries a single address could be shared with thousands of other customers using carrier grade nat.

    Implementing CGN is expensive, and causes a lot of extra cost for these providers - costs which providers in developed countries don't have.

    These CGN gateways are often overloaded, and are usually the single biggest cause of poor performance.

    The use of CGN also prevents p2p protocols from working, yet countries like these are the ideal candidates for p2p downloads. If every user is on fibre, there is no reason that local traffic couldn't flow at multi gigabit speeds - however as none of them have public routable addresses, they can only make outbound connections to peers able to receive inbound connections. All of those peers will usually be located in foreign countries, significantly reducing throughput and increasing load on the international links and cgn gateways.

    The difference is very noticeable on the few providers in developing countries who have implemented ipv6... While ipv4 traffic might grind to a halt at peak times, ipv6 is much faster and you can connect to your neighbours over ipv6 at high speed.

  25. hairydog

    The way BT is doing it, we'll never get good speeds. I live in a village with so-so broadband speeds.

    One of the community partnerships has paid Openreach to put a new FTTC cabinet in the middle of the village. But almost nobody can use it.

    Anyone who has a line already is connected to a cabinet almost a mile away in either direction (depending which end of the village you live.

    Even if you order a new line, they'll almost certainly just use a spare pair in the existing cables. I have found just one address in the village that is predicted speeds that reflect a nearby cabinet: that address has never had a phone line.

    As long as penny-pinching is more important to BT than delivering a good service, giving public money to BT is throwing it away.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      The community partnership should have researched things a bit better.

  26. Ashto5

    So the UK is crap

    At least we excel at something

  27. That 8 Bit Guy
    Big Brother

    A change of network habits is required

    I can remember not too long ago internet speeds of 512K/128 was the sh1t. We all got by pretty good and when it was raised to 2mbt/512 we all got our music/updates/movies downloaded and we organised our downloads/torrents at night, and life was good.

    Now we are stuck at the home office and the speeds requested are totally unrealistic when you can get by with 10mbit/2mbit speeds, and yes those 92gb downloads of FS 2020 will have to be done at night too.

    That speed is more realistic than 1gbit/1gbit speeds that will cost the earth, and in reality won't be achievable. Countries with tax havens have their sh1t sorted out. UK had the chance to have fiber only to have the councils delay the laying of cable, and the issues with BT mentality. Well it is grim up north of London.

    So basically you do not need fast internet. You do need to go out and kick a ball (wearing a mask) instead of kicking your slow internet out the window.

    BTW does the Isle of Mann have fast internet? Not until 2025. So not all tax havens eh?

    https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/05/manx-telecom-to-cover-isle-of-man-with-full-fibre-broadband.html

    Big B likes you to use large amounts of high speed internet and will have a good snoop at the same time.;)

  28. Jonjonz

    The 1% So Owns You

    The better for the 1% to stow or withdraw cash when they wish, now get back to work prole.

  29. Katy_B

    So secure

    The only reason I bank in Liechtenstein my dears! Such a reliable interface for online bankingggggggggggggggggggggggggg

    Oops! Who left that gold bar on my keyboard?!

  30. Sherrie Ludwig

    Wow, juat like home

    I live in rural Northern Illinois. The BEST internet speed we can buy is just above Sub-Saharan Africa. We pay $44/mo. for 1.5Mbps, but usually get barely 1 from the telephone company. The federally mandated "competition", a cable tv company DOES nominally provide service to our area, IF WE PAY TO LAY THE CABLE, which we were quoted a couple of years ago at several thousand dollars. My fondest wish is that every telco executive finds that the ambulance can come to his or her house, IF they pay to lay a new road and buy the ambulance. F'em.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Wow, juat like home

      They'll F you back, then. Their estates are probably large enough they can use Nightingale...which doesn't NEED roads...

  31. Canasta

    UK government is spending £100bn on a new railway line, they don't have money to waste on silly stuff like new fibre lines.

    Yes, in 2021, the UK is investing in the worlds most expensive new railway project, in 2021.

    Just let that sink in for a moment.

    The day the railway is completed, will be the same day the traditional commute to work is declared dead, due to everyone WFH.

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