back to article G7 countries beat UK in worldwide broadband speed test again

For the second year in a row, the UK is second worst in the G7 league of industrial nations for broadband speed, only faster than Italy, according to a report published today. Beating the UK's 72.06Mbps mean download speed globally was Japan in ninth place overall (with an average of 122.33Mbps); France (10th with 120.01Mbps …

  1. sebbb

    Italy's problem...

    is the population digital skills (very low skilled in average) which brings to extremely low take up of FTTH, with a few other facts to consider: there's no cable at all (CATV was blocked at the time of its birth and has never been considered since); mobile data is among the cheapest in the EU (when I go to my parents in Italy I have a prepaid eSIM that for 8€ a month gives me 150GB); people are also not willing very often to carry out the adequate works needed in some cases to bring the fibre cable indoors, because Italy doesn't particularly like aerial fibre, its population likes to live primarily "in my own home" which means single detached self-built houses, it must be underground and this means those customers will happily remain on ADSL/FTTC.

    So priority of people is cheap, not fast or performant internet, and zero fuss about installation.

    On the other hand, nowadays you can get a 1000/300 on GPON for under 25-28€ a month and 2.5G/1G for around 34-36€ a month.

    1. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

      Re: Italy's problem...

      Uptake is not the only problem. Coverage is still the biggest issue. Even in areas that are allegedly covered by fibre a lot of properties are not covered.

      To give my own village as an example Openreach made a big fuss of telling us full fibre was on the way. We then heard no more. I'd seen the Openreach vans. I'd seen the big drums of fibre in the car park of the exchange. I'd even seen engineers installing fibre in chambers and up poles in other parts of the village. The chamber outside my own house however was untouched.

      Then I found out somebody living a few hundred yards away had already got full fibre. So I went to the Openreach fibre availability checker page. Entered my address. No full fibre, no schedule for full fibre. But GOOD NEWS I could get FTTC. Err thanks. Already got that.

      One day there was an engineer fixing a fault down the street so I thought I'd ask him. He told me that Openreach had indeed planned to install fibre to the whole village, but until they spoke to the engineers they were under the impression that the whole village had it's telephony delivered overhead. So it was a quick win to deliver fibre to every pole and therefore easy to install a new d-side from the pole to every house that wanted fibre. Of course once they spoke to the engineers they found that almost all new build since about 1970 was cabled underground. And you're not talking convenient modern plastic ducting to a demarc point in the property. Oh no, you're talking copper cable simply laid under the pavement, road, driveway, path and even garden (one resident once dug though his own telephone cable). So it's not a simple case of pulling fibre through from the nearest chamber using the old copper as the pull through.

      So I said. If I want fibre can't I pay the (no doubt extortionate) fee to have the driveway dug up from the chamber at the end of my drive? I could even dig the trench myself. Not possible because apparently there is a standard charge on the product list for FTTP based upon being able to simply drop in a new d-side. So they opted not to even bother running fibre to the chambers on streets where there are no poles as they would have made a loss on each and every install. So there is simply no fibre availability for my property because the chamber right on the curtilage of my property does not have fibre. All this even though I received a letter from Openreach stating that our exchange was going full fibre.

      I spoke to Openreach and asked why this was the case. They blamed the government and told me that they had to do the job quickly as they had government targets to meet on the number of properties covered by a certain date. Once, they told me, those targets are met they would then be able to come back and cover the properties they had missed. Except of course that the original target was 2025 so presumably they were not looking at fibre to my property before 2025. And since then the government have very quietly moved that target back to 2030.

      And remember the goverment said full fibre for everybody by 2025, but that wasn't what the deal actually was. Like so many of these things it wasn't quite what it seemed. They actually said PSTN/ISDN switch off by 2025. And people took this to mean full fibre. Openreach and the government count FTTC as fibre. So if you are on FTTC (like me) then they never promised to give you a better service. They just said they would switch off your PSTN service and move you to a VOIP service. And bear in mind that if you are a long way from the DSLAM you'll only be getting ADSL speeds anyway. Just been looking at a circuit this morning in a fairly urban area that's 1.5km from the DSLAM and getting 17Mbps downstream and 1.2Mbps upstream. According to Openreach and our government that qualfies as high speed broadband.

      But wait for the really fun part. Even on an ADSL service you may still not get upgraded to full fibre. Hard to reach properties my just be given a new modem/router when PSTN is switched off on their exchange. This modem will feature a telephone port so you can plug in your PSTN handset and get a VOIP service.

      In short you can't complain about people not buying fibre if they don't have the option of buying it in the first place

  2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    What is "enough"?

    Some of the speeds quoted in the article are impressive, and much faster than the UK average, but I wonder if such high speeds are more than enough for the vast majority of use cases.

    Based on these figures, my home broadband is a bit below average, but it's *plenty* fast enough for everyday tasks, streaming music/video, accessing content-heavy websites, etc. The only thing I seem to struggle with is performance of my local newspaper's website, but that's my PC fighting with all of the advertorial content that's been downloaded rather than a bottleneck in the network.

    Maybe the UK has a fleet of Ford Mondeos while the rest of the world has Ferraris, but when most people just want to commute to/from work, pop down the shops or pootle up the motorway on a trip, what are they missing out on by not having a sports car?

    Personally I'm more bothered about the availability of a usable service, i.e. rural >2.5G mobile data rather than colossal Mbps figures that go beyond what might realistically be needed.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: What is "enough"?

      I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps connection to every household in the country ahead of getting a Gig connection to people living in city centres.

      It's not that I would want to be constrained to 50Mbps, I just want broadband to be a basic utility rather than a postcode based one.

      1. drand

        Re: What is "enough"?

        Spot on. The comment about 'dawdling with FTTC' is stupid. More backbone fibre and squeezing what there is out of local copper helps out those people on the lowest speeds. Sure it's not always that simple but headline speeds and mean speeds aren't a useful metric in determining how equitable your internet provision is.

        What we need is a big initiative to get everyone up to the same level, with a catchy name. Any suggestions?

        1. sebbb

          Re: What is "enough"?

          If you want to guarantee a minimum performance with VDSL2 or GFast is going to be impossible. Distance from cabinet, crosstalk and interference from other EMFs, issues with wiring both outdoor and indoor... there's no other way around than fibre to the home to give an equal service to everyone. The fast speeds are a separate matter in my opinion, that's commercial stuff (and as I say in my post above, in some countries like Italy where take-up is incredibly slow they pushed on the big numbers to try convince customers and now we actually see that in the UK too with some of the local ISPs).

        2. ragnar

          Re: What is "enough"?

          "What we need is a big initiative to get everyone up to the same level, with a catchy name. Any suggestions?"

          British Broadband?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

        The pandemic showed that four people working/studying from home can do very little with 50/10 Mbps. If you talk about 100-200 and 20-50 up it could start to work.

        But you can't achieve 100 Mbps download speeds with a VDSL connection in the majority of cases, most people will see speeds lower than that, and not a few even slower than 50 Mbps.

        And VDSL needs a lot of power to run, especially it the ONUs have vectoring active to get more decent speeds, reducing crosstalk interference. But you can't do nothing about distance attenuation, dead branches, and deteriorated cables. And outside city centres, on average people are more distant from ONUs, and dead branches more common.

        GPON is passive for kilometres and can deliver the same speed to everybody, doesn't suffer from interference, and a new FTTH network is far more reliable. And once you have deployed a FTTH line it doesn't matter much if you sell a 100Mbps or 1000Mbps speed - the real speed is determined by the load on the GPON tree, and depends on the splitting factor - 1:16 means a minimum of about 150Mps per user, 1:64 40 Mps - although these are "worst case scenario" - average speeds will be higher. And of course everything depends on the backhaul connection speed - which won't be hundreds of gigabytes.

        Anyway most government plans today are not to install higher speed in city centres - private companies are doing that, and they will do it anyway, they are not interested in huge investment in less densely populated areas where it will take many years to see a return. It does not really make any sense anymore to invest in copper networks. They are obsolete.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

          While it is not my intention at all to argue against the fastest possible roll-out country-wide of FTTH technology, I must take issue with the following:

          The pandemic showed that four people working/studying from home can do very little with 50/10 Mbps.

          That may be the case if you are four workers with video calling constantly on and always-up remote desktops streaming video (and I'd argue even that) but that is not the way most homeworking seemed to be done during the lockdowns. Most home workers & learners were using significantly less bandwidth than that.

          My family managed lockdowns with three children remote-learning (so that's mostly video incoming from teachers via Teams or Google), online apps (O365 or Google), one adult using remote desktop with occasional video calls and two other adults who only occasionally had to be asked to pause watching something on iPlayer. Granted, two of the three adults were also 'essential' workers so were out of the house at least a couple of days a week.

          Our broadband? About 6 or 7Mbps down, 1Mbps up, with 4G backup which never exceeded 1GB of use in a month.

          There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and if upgrading existing Copper infraatructure gets VDSL or good ADSL-type speeds to those people who currently struggle even to load the front page of the BBC News website now, I'd argue that that is far more important than upgrading people who already get those speeds, and it is certainly better to do the thing quickly than wait three years before they begin digging up the roads for fibres.

          So long as it doesn't make the wait for fibre ten years, rather than three.


          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

            I occasionally work from my parents, who live in the remote countryside, and are fortunate enough to have a slightly flaky FTTC connection. That gives them a nominal 22Mbit connection, a lot better than their previous 3Mbit DSL connection - its good enough for streaming Netflix in HD, with the occasional buffering.

            However, for work its terrible. I'd frequently have google chat disable mine and others video streams because the connection was too slow, or too many errors. When I do my job, which is building software, that often involves building docker images, and then running tests using the docker images. Doing a full rebuild of a minor project took over 30 minutes; it takes 3 at home on my gigabit fibre. I just want to clarify that these are not enormous docker images, the final image is only 200MB; the issue is that each layer in each image is a separate file to be negotiated and transferred, then each package installed is another file, etc etc.

            Building docker images is a specialised thing, not all remote workers do that - my parents don't even work at all. What they do do however is video call with my sister and her kids who live 400 miles away - frequent pauses/freezes and drop offs, if they can make a 20 minute call its a miracle. My Dad is so fed up of all of this, he's spent days talking to ISPs and BT trying to track down where it goes wrong - he'd have ditched it all for a 4G modem if they weren't in a 4G deadspot/shadow (I think he calculated he'd need a 35m mast to reach out of the deadspot!)

            For these long lines, its not getting better until there is FTTP, and FTTP isn't getting to those rural communities until BT have done all the more monetisable locations first.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

              Obviously yours is a specialised use-case. I was making the point that blankly saying (and I'm going to reply to LDS's reply in a minute) that "50/10 is no good for four people home working" isn't any better than the averages quoted in the article that everyone's complaining about. A 10/2 connection - if it is solid and reliable - is infinitely preferable to a flaky 50/10 and would have no problem at all with your parent's video calling uses. During lockdown we regularly had video meetups with friends, family and work colleagues online and the things worked perfectly reasonably on our 7/1ish line.

              I contend that it isn't the speed that's the problem in many cases, it's the reliability, dropped packets and the like.

              I do believe (as I pointed out) that FTTP is the long-term answer, but it is often expensive and difficult to do and shorter-term solutions such as upgrading or repairing old Copper might be cheaper for Openreach, would certainly be quicker to implement and would make many people's experiences very much better.

              As you say though, part of the problem is that hard-to-reach communities are left behind because the RoI is not favourable. So in many cases those who already have, get more, while those who don't have get nothing.


          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Our broadband? About 6 or 7Mbps down, 1Mbps up "

            You just said that ADSL lines are fine and you don't even need VDSL. And why did you need a 4G backuip if your consumption was so low?

            Anyway my personal average bandwidth needs was higher than that - and remember, audio/video streams can have latency issues easily when the bandwidth is too low - unless you have equipment able to perform a decent QoS, plus the skills to configure it. Not something you find on the average consumer router.

            "upgrading existing Copper infraatructure gets VDSL or good ADSL-type speeds to those people who currently struggle "

            The problem is most people are already struggling with ADSL and low end VDSL speeds. I'm one of the main contributors of the Italian forum (that despite the name is about all types of connections), and I have first hands reports of the issues many users encounter on low speed xDSL lines.

            Those who have low ADSL speeds are also those at the end of long lines and will get low VDSL speeds as well, unless you dig to rebuild the copper network and place closer ONUs and activate vectoring. Just your beating a dead horse. You're going to spend money on power-hungry equipment, which will be obsolete anyway in just a few years. You are not helping people delivering them slow speeds with which they will be then forced to cope for more years to come, while people in other areas will get their 1G, 2.5G and 10G connections anyway, because in larger cities that is happening now, and you can't stop it. Your idea would increase the digital divide, not reduce it.

            I also imagine you buy 100Mb hubs because 1Gb switch are useless, right? <G>

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: "Our broadband? About 6 or 7Mbps down, 1Mbps up "

              You just said that ADSL lines are fine and you don't even need VDSL. And why did you need a 4G backuip if your consumption was so low?

              I knew it was risky, arguing with LDS, twisting my words as usual :-)

              As I've re-iterated above, my point is not that FTTP should not be done but that we should recognise that it is often difficult to do and expensive and that because of acknowledged problems with ADSL, simply repairing or upgrading existing systems - to avoid problems such as latency, dropped packets and the like - would make a huge difference much sooner to many people who are struggling. Get the basics sorted out first, deal with the upgrades as funds allow. If it's Aluminium cable, or the Copper is so rotted that it needs replacing, then definitely replace with fibre (and there's a "no new Copper" mandate coming in the UK anyway), but if it's just a few connections to renew because they're corroded, or a length of overhead cable to replace because it's sun-damaged, fix the blasted cable rather than waiting three years for a fibre roll-out that might not actually happen!

              As for:

              Those who have low ADSL speeds are also those at the end of long lines and will get low VDSL speeds as well

              Well, that's not necessarily the case, is it? Other than people who are fed directly from the exchange - which in the UK is rare except in some cities - there is always a cabinet much closer to the premises, and this is what VDSL is designed to take advantage of. For example, while our exchange is about 3 miles away in a straight line and significantly further by telephone conduit, the cabinet - where VDSL is generated - is a couple of hundred yards away. Our ADSL2+ (generated at the exchange) tops out at about 8M/1M (it's currently showing 8,192kbps / 732kbps, throughput likely slightly lower), while at work and at a relative's house, both much closer to their respective exchanges, near identical modems reach between 18Mbit/s and 20Mbit/s down. I have been estimated by a couple of those online checkers that minimum guaranteed VDSL speeds should be 38Mbps (lower tier) and 63Mbps. 38Mbps is the maximum technically possible at the low tier, and 63Mbps is not far off the maximum possible either.

              At some point I will make the switch. I might have done it during the first lockdown except that Openreach had a moratorium on new installations for a couple of months which forced me to work with the existing setup, only to find it coped remarkably well.

              Why the 4G stick? Well, even before lockdown I realised that we were becoming more and more reliant on the internet and as we have had over the years cases where diggers had gone through cables, or underground DPs had been flooded or pole-mounted DPs had corroded away, it seemed like a good investment for £5 a month. The router was set up to failover at that time, but during lockdown I put it on load-balancing because I was worried about the bandwidth we would need. This did cause a few problems with my mail server (the MX record only points to the wired connection which works for incoming mail but the 4G connection doesn't allow outgoing port 25, 587 or indeed most other non-web ports) but after a few months it also proved that 7M/1M was mostly perfectly fine for normal "working at home" tasks, proved by how rarely the 4G stick was used. Compiling VM images isn't "normal" for most workers in the UK!

              Yes, at some point I will upgrade. I will definitely do it when FTTP arrives (because I won't have a choice) but I might do it before if we start streaming 4k, which really wouldn't cope on an 8Mbit/s link. How likely is 4k streaming? Not very. We don't subscribe to any streaming services, and the amount of 4k content on iPlayer is rather low at the moment :-) What do I find frustrating at 7M-ish? Mostly downloading OpenSuse updates if I'm honest, but if I start it before tea, they're ready to install afterwards, or if that's not convenient I can leave the thing sipping binary digits overnight.

              As always, and as I mentioned above, unless there is some kind of mandate - a legal requirement - for companies to reach near "universal coverage" (c.f. the Universal Service Obligation of the UK Royal Mail and various other similar entities), they will simply concentrate efforts on the maximum Return on Investment, which rarely - if ever - covers rural areas.


              P.S. No. I have never owned a network hub, only ever owned one 100Mbit switch (unless you count the ones on the backs of my first few ADSL modems) and felt really sorry for a close friend who, back in the 1990s, as his family was expanding and needed more, and more-connected computers, all he could afford to buy was a second-hand 10Mbit/s hub. IIRC I'd just spent £20 on a 100Mbit/s switch and his second-hand hub cost him £12, but in those days £8 was a couple of days' worth of food for his family. I helped him out in other ways, but even I couldn't have gifted him a £20 switch back then.


        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

          >The pandemic showed that four people working/studying from home can do very little with 50/10 Mbps.

          What were you doing?

          I had two teenagers on Teams/Xbox/ipad, partner practically constantly on Zoom (HD streams) and myself. Didn't really have a problem with 40/10.

          However, I would agree, having at least 20Mbps uplink (and hence at least 80Mbps downlink) would have been better. Looking forward, tools like Zoom really show that the uplink speed is also important so I would suggest setting the basic service level to 40/10 (permits the upgrade of much of the current FTTC network to be a lower priority) and make 100/25 (FTTH) the universal standard and thus standard for new installs.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

            As VDSL is eminently adjustable*, I've often wondered why no-one - not even the "boutique" ISPs such as Andrews & Arnold (yes I did ask them) offers the possibility to adjust the split. For example, you could rebalance an 80/20 product to 60/40 if that suits you better.

            *ADSL is limited - much like the old 56k modems which were confusingly asymmetric to people who weren't around in the 1200/75 days - in uplink speed by the capabilities of the device and the line, but I understand that VDSL has fewer such limitations so while 20/80 might not be technically possible, 70/30 or 60/40 might be?


        3. spireite Silver badge

          Re: "I would absolutely prioritise getting a 50/10Mbps"

          As someone with a household of 3 workers, inc me, we never had a problem with a 76 connection.

          It was still more than good enough.

          Now, if the homeworkers are working from their rooms, streaming Netflix (or whatever) on their individual TVs - yeah, it'd be noticeable.

      3. A_O_Rourke

        Re: What is "enough"?

        I think the post code lottery is becoming a thing of the past, I'm in a VERY rural location between Preston and Southport (Northern England for the geographically challenged), no Cable here but BT have FFTH with a 935 / 119 Connection to my router so maybe "Levelling up" is working "Oop-North"??

      4. low_resolution_foxxes

        Re: What is "enough"?

        The practical issue is that running FTTP to the truly remote locations currently abandoned at sub-5meg speeds is really expensive. So expensive that novel 4/5G solutions really should be sought. Whether that's running a local 4G mast at the top of the hill or whatever

        The prices for extra-rural are in the range of £1000-£20000 per home.

        Imagine the payback time for the FTTP infrastructure provider! Imagine £10 per month for 100 months just to break even. Reality is that they will concentrate on market share in their profitable markets first.

        There is some progress on the final 5%. The government has issued something like £500-£1500 grants to many homes who can get an FTTP company to present a business proposal for the area.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: What is "enough"?

          The practical issue is that running FTTP to the truly remote locations currently abandoned at sub-5meg speeds is really expensive

          While "novel 4/5G" solutions are a possible answer, another is to DIY as enterprising (and not un-wealthy) villagers near Cardiff did. B4RN has done this in other areas and I dare say other organisations are working on it too, but there is a lot of money to raise before you can think of laying any fibre.


      5. zen42

        Re: What is "enough"?

        Agreed, for this reason i've often wondered why they don't focus on pushing out 4G/5G to villages/small towns, its more then enough speed for most people. My 4g actually faster than my FTTC!

        While i'm not in that industry surely rolling out a 5g mast in the town is easier than FTTC?

        1. low_resolution_foxxes

          Re: What is "enough"?

          "why don't broadband providers focus on providing 4/5G..." Because that's not what they usually sell

          And yeah, they are slowly rolling out the 5G 700Mhz spectrum for rural places. But a good tower will cost £100k. If there's only 5 people in the catchment area.. why bother?

          Local private/4G/fixed wireless specialist companies are probably the solution in these regions. Unless you want to do a community fibre build

      6. Mooseman Silver badge

        Re: What is "enough"?

        interestingly enough you're more likely to get a better speed if you live in the back end of nowhere than in many cities. Fat internet has been a priority for rural areas as it looks good for governments to say they have done something. Lots of city areas still have far lower speed than the quoted mean - I barely get half that.

    2. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      Re: What is "enough"?

      I agree with the sentiment in your comment. Community Fibre put a letter through my door offering gigabit fibre for £25 a month. The suggested uses are for streaming 4k and heavy use on multiple devices. I would say it is.

      Another advert I saw recently I saw said (paraphrased) "download a complete movie in x seconds". I can't watch it in x seconds, so unless I am going to spend my life watching movies I can't see the need (not the desire) for this.

      1. sebbb

        Re: What is "enough"?

        I have their 600Mb and tbf as we work in IT we should be able to appreciate the advantages of that. I'm 99% working from home and downloading stuff is a breeze with this connection, especially the ability to do multiple bandwidth intensive tasks in parallel is a big deal for me and there's still space for the other people in the house that would want to watch Netflix and such or download a game (which nowadays are fantastically big, there's titles on Steam around 100-150GB to pull down). I guess it depends though on the family requirements.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: What is "enough"?

          As someone who works from home in IT there is no benefit in fast internet for me. I have the entry level Virgin service which is 110Mb/s. I only have that speed because they don’t offer slower cheaper options. 50Mb/s would still be far faster than I need. I can have Gb if I want but it would be like buying my fresh fruit by the tonne, it would be wasted. It’s great that we have Gb/s and faster connections. I wonder how if we can also have 2 metre diameter water supply pipes too, so people can fill their skimming pools from empty in 10 minutes. I wouldn’t need that either.

          If investing in connectivity then I would want to be targeting uptime over speed.

        2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

          Re: What is "enough"?

          Had an 8TB HDD fail a few weeks ago, the one containing my entire steamcache as well as others.

          Try downloading some 3.5TB over a 70Mb FTTC line without completely swamping the bandwidth. Where I could, I was limiting download speeds, but that's not always possible. Before anyone asks... I've got literally hundreds of games... some 350-400 across places like steam, gog, ubisoft and epic... Sure a lot of them are small and only a few GB, but almost any AAA title released in the last 6-7yrs has been in the 60+GB range, it soon adds up.

          Took about 10-12 days to complete running 24/7 and I'm betting my ISP was wondering WTF was going on.

          1. Oglethorpe

            Re: What is "enough"?

            If you're not ready to pony up for the sort of spending and planning that RAID would benefit from (as far as buying matching drives), a drive pool might be worth looking into. They can be splendid for the sort of home user that has a mixey blob of drives and, if you dig down into the configs, you can do cunning things like shuffling disk-intensive folders in and out of SSDs while leaving things like video content purely on spinning rust. The main downsides are that parity requires extra work underneath the pool and that data duplication requires the combined capacity of your remaining drives to be at least equal to the size of the largest. As with RAID, they're not a backup, just a guard against hardware failure.

            1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

              Re: What is "enough"?

              It's on the list eventually, my mediaserver contains every single ripped movie and TV show from my own DVD's and Blurays of the last 24yrs... It's not backed up at all.

              When I can afford it, I've been buying 14TB Seagate or WD externa drives as they contain WD archive or Seagate Ironwolf drives.

              They're about 30-40% cheaper than buying the bare drive

              The plan is to set up some kind of array with parity... I figure I'm going to need at least 5 drives... I currently have 2... in use.

              Raid/Jbod arrays are not a strong point of mine... in the 25yrs I've been building systems, and the 30yrs I've been upgrading them. I've built two raid arrays on personal systems... One was a mirror array to backup a drive (10yrs ago) and the other striped to increase speeds on an old HDD based system some 15yrs ago.

              Got some research to do before then... I figure I can buy a drive every couple of months.

      2. JClouseau

        Re: What is "enough"?

        Working in IT and having ~1000/600 fibre, one big advantage I see is when a customer struggles to download some large patch/service pack/other file and I can not only download it for them, but more importantly upload it to another repository they can access, in no time. In the ADSL days the upload was painful.

        Granted, it doesn't happen very often, but when it does it's usually critical/urgent ;-)

        The "download a movie in seconds" is actually interesting for saving bandwidth : the kids/missus can download several episodes of their favourite Netflix/whatever series, thus hogging the line for a relatively short time, then watching them later on without even the need to access the Net.

        (and when I say "hogging", it's not even accurate, either the source is capping its upload speed or it's the interwebs that can't cope with the speed)

        Other than that yes, it's a bit overkill...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: What is "enough"?

          Working in IT and having ~1000/600 fibre, one big advantage I see is when a customer struggles to download some large patch/service pack/other file and I can not only download it for them, but more importantly upload it to another repository they can access, in no time

          I wouldn’t be bringing it back to my less safe wfh computer. I would be working in a virtual desktop at our data centre. Probably one that is in a safe zone for internet connectivity with whatever security measures are in place. It has all the leased line speed I could ever want. But then I am probably ly throttled by the available download speed at the source anyway.

    3. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: What is "enough"?

      At a site yesterday, 4 staff members. Connectivity? ADSL2+.

      Town has 35 cabinets, 36 of them have FTTC. The one that serves the centre of the town? no vdsl, so adsl is your best option. I'm partly with you here.

      That site might "like" fttp at high speeds, but we'd be much better off with even VDSL at 80/20 over the 16/1 we have now. Esp as there's not enough bandwidth to run VoIP over it, so we're actually having to look at getting a _new_ adsl circuit installed in 2022 to run the replacement phones.

      For 4 people, a leased circuit isn't really a cost effective option.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: What is "enough"?

        Yup. Several years ago I was part of a trans-Atlantic software development team. We wrote software to recover data from Exchange and SharePoint so often worked with large databases. Three software engineers managed just fine with a 3Mb/s connection. We did avoid downloading large DBs and used RDP to access them via machines across the pond but it all worked reasonably well.

        The only problem we had with any frequency was connection drops. Speed just wasn't an issue.

        Most home workers are reading email (occasionally), exchanging documents (occasionally), accessing corporate websites and using some form of VoiP/Video. None of those are particularly bandwidth intensive. Video works better with decent bandwidth but doesn't demand it.

        100Mb/s is enough for dozens of people. Three or four typical home workers would barely register.

      2. zen42

        Re: What is "enough"?

        Had the same issue at my last flat in Edinburgh. All the surrounding cabs were FTTC, my street were directly attached to the exchange so no FTTC, ADSL best they could do. Thank the great god Offler that virgin media were available.

    4. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: What is "enough"?

      What about businesses?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: What is "enough"?

        If it's a viable business it can justify paying for a leased line. You can get one of them installed pretty much anywhere as has been the case for several decades now.

        1. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: What is "enough"?

          £65 per person for us. 4 people, best quote is £260 a month.

    5. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: What is "enough"?

      Maybe the UK has a fleet of Ford Mondeos while the rest of the world has Ferraris, but when most people just want to commute to/from work, pop down the shops or pootle up the motorway on a trip, what are they missing out on by not having a sports car?

      Exactly. Also as I've pointed out previously the UK's network took the work from home pandemic in its stride. It shrugs off minor events like World Cups and Apple's latest update. Aside from the increasingly small minority of people who are stuck on ADSL exactly who is suffering?

      And as I've mentioned before most people aren't taking the fastest service available to them anyway. If everyone went for the fastest package available to them our average would jump up hugely (Thinkbroadband ran the numbers several years ago and we'd be at the top of the league). Now fair enough pricing might have something to do with but as we're saying here - how much does it matter?

      FTTP is good tech and we should be moving forward with it for sure but few people in the UK are actually short of speed and unable to do the things they want to do.

    6. Pangasinan Philippines

      Re: What is "enough"?

      I am happy with 200 Mb/s on the fibre that comes into my house.

      However, PLDT (Philippine long distance telephone) have given me a trial increase to 300 Mb/s which I don't need for my use but want to charge extra GBP 1.50 (approx) month.

    7. unimaginative Bronze badge
      IT Angle

      Re: What is "enough"?

      Also, why the obsession with download speeds? I find latency to be more important. Higher upload speeds would also be more useful - offsite/"cloud" backups would be faster, so would outgoing video. Faster outgoing plus IP6 (so everyone had static IPs) would make home servers more practical which could allow a lot of new things to happen.

      The very use of the terms "upload" and "download" assumes the main use of home internet connections is to consume media.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: What is "enough"?

        This is one of my big annoyances too. FTTP is synchronous, but the major ISPs like BT sell their residential FTTP products as async for no reason. BT do 18/10, 25/10, 34/20, 100/30, 425/73 and 700/110 on their FTTP. You have to get to their premium offerings to get an upload speed that allows multiple people to do upload heavy things - video conferencing + screen share can mean two 1080p HD streams per person.

    8. Stork Silver badge

      Re: What is "enough"?

      We moved from a property with 24 Mbit (normally measured half that) ADSL to one with 500 Mbit fibre.

      The extra speed is nice, but the real improvements are latency and stability.

  3. steve_reg

    Above average

    Why are we using the mean for this comparison? Surely the median would be a much better measure. I am confident that the median UK speed would be significantly worse than 72Mbps, and would also go some way to addressing Cedric's concerns.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Above average

      And I'm sure I heard Boris claiming that the UK has "70% Gigabit connections" this morning. The BBC's fact-checking article doesn't seem to mention it. Aah, this is the speech in full. It starts at 3m04s.


  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Precision without accuracy is meaningless

    which might account for why UK has risen to 35th place from 43rd last year. With most countries averaging around 72 Mb/s, which is surpisingly close to 75 Mb/s, which is the average of 100 Mb/s and 50 Mb/s, making the study that of average tariffs of people choosing either and majority going for 10 Mb/s. This tells us about tarifffs but nothing about network deployment and capacity.

  5. Lee D

    I've been on 4G for four years, the entire house. Because the broadband was utter tosh, and I can throw a stone from my bedroom window and hit a major London town.

    BT offered me only a guaranteed FOUR Mbps. I told them to stuff it, never even bothered to activate the phone line. Literally no other suppliers of service available.

    Been running off 4G ever since, including IoT, streaming media server and CCTV.

    BT guy knocked on the door a few months back and promised me that everything was upgraded now and I could get "up to 50Mbps". I did a Speedtest, from my mobile, on my phone's 4G and then did it again on my house Wifi, which was running off a 4G stick. Beat them both times.

    "Oh, but usage..." - unlimited.

    "Oh, but cost." - £18 a month, barely more than your most basic line rental, let alone broadband package.

    Someone needs to properly kill off the Openreach/BT monopoly, because it's still around and holding everything back still.

    Moving to a new house the other day - same. I just have 4G both ends until I complete my move and watch the cameras of one place while I'm at the other place, and stream content from my media player from the old house every night. And that's actually a very rural place.

    I was seriously considering Starlink if that wasn't going to work, but it has to be bad to make me use a Musk product by choice.

    1. just another employee

      To dream....

      Totally agree with your comment about BT/Openreach.

      BT for me guarantee 1Mb. I repeat - 1Mb. We did have a BT line (DEL) when we moved in but BT couldn't meet their guarantee - averaged out around 400Kb. At full cost. With a need to reclaim service credits monthly. And still to be marketed at for 2Mb sky services (!).

      Use 4G also here. Only one tower and quite a few people using it (especially if road traffic is busy). Might get 3Mb, rising to 7Mb at quiet times.

      Oh to live in London........ 5G, Gigabit, FTTP (even FTTC). I can dream....

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: To dream....

        Oh to live in London........ 5G, Gigabit, FTTP (even FTTC). I can dream....

        Not universally true. There are places in London with poor connectivity. Of all the members of our software development team the only one with a poor connection (some stuttering on Teams) lives in London.

        I think I'm second worst. I live in rural South Northants and have 67Mb/s. But Swift is currently installing fibre around the town so 1Gb/s symmetrical will soon be available. I can't be bothered to change ISP so will wait for Openreach who should be bringing there FTTP here pretty soon. Gigaclear have also thrown their hat into the ring.

    2. Def Silver badge

      While I don't disagree with you in principle, you should be aware pretty much every ISP on the planet prioritises Speedtest traffic these days.

      I have a 750/750 fibre connection. I could download the most popular torrent in the world, and never reach more than 50% of my bandwidth capacity. Speed test almost always hits 100%.

      More usual usage when downloading software updates, etc. I rarely see above 6MBs. Mostly, I suspect, to servers throttling their connections.

    3. Mooseman Silver badge

      That rather depends on having a phone signal at all, nevermind 4g

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    the five top ranked countries ... are all either very small or islands

    They don't have the Western Hebridies, Shetland, and the North York Moors to wire up. Having a significant chunk of your country sparsly populated wildernesses isn't going to help push you up the connectivity ranks. I remember in Sheffield - a city of more than half a million people - 20 years ago there were still some houses so isolated that they had a night soil collection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Is mostly sparsely-populated wildernesses. Once you get away from the three big cities (two of which are really towns), communities get very small very quickly with lots of places set away from the main roads. Yet they've got 99.9% of the population on 100Mbps+ wired connections.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Iceland

        That it can be done is not in doubt. It's a question of how, particularly how things are paid for and I'd bet that the Icelandic government either paid for or made a requirement of the licence for the lines to be laid, though to be honest passing a loop along the main roads with spurs isn't that challenging and size does matter. Scotland, north of the rift valley is mainly empty and that's without counting the islands. But it does come down to the shambles that was privatisation: a series of big gifts to the City with commensurately weak regulators ensuring that there was neither real competition nor real public service.

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      USA? Canada? Scandy? France? Spain?

  7. BebopWeBop


    Mean bugger all outside an expected bottom line service. Median might be more useful.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Italy FTTH public plans are actually two

    italy actually has now two FTTH public plans - the first one is the "BUL" plan to cover those areas which were left only with ADSL or slower speeds (no FTTC), started in 2017 - about 25% of the overall population, mostly in small towns (6232) and rural areas -, and now the new Italia 1Gb which has to cover those are that has FTTC but are left out from FTTH by private companies.

    The BULcontracts were won by Open Fiber - the plan should have reached its target next year - but it is tremendously late. Lack of manpower, mistakes in the design and planning phase - worsened by the mandate to cover often a patchwork of areas-, lack of clear and strong management directions, delays in connecting the local networks FTTH to the internet, plus some interference by the incumbent (fined by the anti-trust authority because of that) put the plan in troubled waters.

    The incumbent also started its own FTTH rollout plan with the help of the KKR fund - it will last until 2026 - which diluted even more the available resources - and Covid also meant it wasn't easy to find resources abroad. At one point it was even asked to use prison inmates to dig to install fibre.

    But as the post above says, even in areas where FTTH is available - and now are not a few - there is a slow uptake. Where there are many detached houses was also decided to bring fibre up to manholes in the street only, and houses are connected only on demand. This way every time they have to dig again - and it means often long waits.

    Many of the regions covered first were also where there are an increased lack of skills and lower incomes - even bonuses for subscribers to high speed connections were attempted for low-income families, but didn't help much.

    Now the Italia 1Gb plan is starting - but it might encounter many of the same problems. It might be a good case study...

  9. jonfr

    I don't understand this list

    In Iceland there's fibre connection almost everywhere or in the works. What people buy depends. The areas that don't have fibre connection have VDSL connection. Same goes for Denmark, with the addition in areas that don't have fibre connection, there's either cable or VDSL options. Speed on VDSL depends on many factors (phones lines are often bad in Denmark). Then United States doesn't have good internet in most areas as I understand.

  10. midcapwarrior

    Interesting looking at the bottom country speeds

    Not surprised by the countries but the speeds are so low I'm not sure they are broadband.

    "The five countries in the world with the slowest network speeds are Turkmenistan (0.77Mbps), the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (0.94Mbps),Yemen (0.97Mbps), Guinea-Bissau (0.98Mbps) and Afghanistan (0.98Mbps). "

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Interesting looking at the bottom country speeds

      And what's worse is that these countries also tend to have limited access to any connection at all, meaning that advances in technology can quickly be absorbed by adding new users, whereas at least in developed countries, we're unlikely to find millions who just didn't have any connection before. However, one possible benefit is that many less developed countries that have poor infrastructure for wired internet have mobile networks that are far more advanced than running services to homes. People may have access to more mobile internet than these statistics take into account.

  11. Barry Rueger


    I feel obliged to report that speeds in Canada vary greatly, especially between urban and rural locations, and that for the privilege you'll pay a whopping $110+ a month. That's 76 € at today's very depressed rate.

    The three monopolies who control all Internet and phone service are insanely greedy.

  12. Potemkine! Silver badge

    An interesting metric would be the price by Mbps. It's nice to have the network available, but it's meaningless if it's too expensive for the many

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better metrics

    Sure a much better metric would what proportion of the population are able to get reasonable Internet connections if they want them.

    Is it available?

    Is it affordable?

    How reliable is it? How reliable is any performance?

    I live in the Thames Valley in the middle of what was once the centre of the UK IT industry.

    Broadband, lucky to get 20->30Mb/s, too far from the cabinet. Usually fairly reliable and fairly stable speeds, but it has its moments. From what I can see the BT Internet connection drops out most days for short periods.

    4G, OK that's usually quicker might do 70Mb/s but when there's a problem with the local street cabinet and all the broadband goes down the 4G network drops to the crawl, you're lucky to get 1Mb and latencies are all over the shop. Latency is much worse than broadband, not so nice for interactive sessions and the eldest complains about it for gaming. Connectivity isn't that reliable, lots of drops.

    5G, we're on the edge of 5G reception, if I get it and I'm lucky it can be anywhere in the 150->600Mb/s range, but then it will drop out part way through something and if you're lucky you might get 4G but then again maybe something older and slower.

    I know there are loads of places far worse off that us.

    With any luck FTTP will arrive in the next 6 months or so. They've been busy digging up the pavements is parts of town as City Fibre lay conduit to the edges of peoples properties. In other places the housing is new enough that the phoneline are already in conduit so Openreach will supply them with FTTP when they get around to it. Who knows one day I'm might be one of the lucky few but even then there will be many others left behind.

    Average Mb/s is just a Willy Wanging exercise (mine's bigger than yours). Let's have something more useful, who can get it, who has chosen to get it (and perhaps why people have chosen against having it, price won't be the only reason).

  14. Just an old bloke

    I’m living in a village in Spain, we have full fibre and 300Mb synchronous. It is genuinely very fast, very reliable and costs, Inc phone less than 30 quid a month. The UK could do this but the will is not there, it’s all about the large conurbations and making piles of dosh. Forget the small communities, let them eat 3G and suffer 1 up and 5 down.

    1. Ian Tunnacliffe

      I'm in a big city in Spain. When we moved apartment recently my fibre connection was upgraded to 1Gb because the provider couldn't be arsed messing about with 600Mb any more. And it costs 21 Euros a month.

  15. bilston

    Sunny Spain

    We live way out in the campo on a small urbanization of 80 villas which is at least at least 5 km from the nearest village in sunny Spain

    About 10 years ago they fiber us up and apologized that the wireless link would only give us 300 synchronous.

    Then about 2 years ago they dug the entire road up for miles and miles and we now have full fiber.

    Now we get 900/900 solid all day long and the still apologize for the speed.

    We pay 14.99 including 100 cable tv channels

    Its amazing

  16. low_resolution_foxxes

    "...average prices went up from record lows of $3.70 per fiber kilometer in March 2021 to $6.30"

    Metre or km? Seems cheap for a km of cable.

    Lots of good FTTP rollout progress at the moment. Expanding at something like 100,000 British properties per week.

    What is quite interesting, is that with the recent Virgin DOCSIS boost (2022), Openreach and Altnet FTTP rollout, 70% of the UK population could theoretically purchase a Gigabit internet connection today. But this is a relatively new development and many have not yet upgraded their connection.

    My connection tops out at 75meg BT in my area (urban).

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