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Average World Internet Speeds Climb to 2.9Mbps as UK Scores 6.5Mbps

Posted Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 (11:30 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 9,131)
akamai global broadband speed

Akamai has today published its latest State of the Internet Q4 2012 report, which found that the average global download speed had clawed its way to 2.9Mbps (up from 2.8Mbps in Q3-2012). By comparison the UK reached a speed of 6.5Mbps (up from 6.3Mbps in Q3) to be ranked 18th fastest in the world (down from 17th).

The UK also recorded a peak broadband speed of 30.5Mbps (up from 28.1Mbps in Q3). But we’re still a long way behind the fastest country, South Korea, which can harness a national fibre optic network (FTTH) to produce average speeds of 14Mbps (down from 14.7Mbps in Q3) and a peak of 49.3Mbps. The fastest EU country was Latvia with an average of 8.9Mbps.

The report also claims that 64% of broadband users in the UK experienced internet download speeds of above 4Mbps (up from 62% in Q3 and 56% in Q2) and 11% were able to receive speeds of 10Mbps+ (unchanged from Q3).

akamai q4 2012 average global internet download speeds

It should be said that Akamai’s data typically reflects the regional performance of its Content Delivery Network (CDN) and their connections with related ISP servers around the world, thus its data shouldn’t be taken as a reliable reflection of real-world end-user connection speeds.

Similarly an ISPs local capacity constraints, Traffic Management measures and the fact that some consumers will often pick slower packages for a cheaper price can all affect the outcome. For comparison purposes we’ve also included the table of European (EMEA) countries below. Happily we’re still above Germany, Spain and France.

akamai q4 2012 average eu download_speeds

Akamai’s study also reveals that the average Mobile Broadband download speed in the United Kingdom returned to 2.91Mbps after sitting on a low of 2.6Mbps during Q3-2012, although the country’s average mobile peak speeds topped 18.1Mbps. Sadly the report doesn’t list the operators by name and so we cannot be sure which specific network performed the best.

Akamai’s State of the Internet Q4 2012 Report
http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/

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6 Responses
  1. We’ll keep dropping too, because other countries will get fibred up and we’ll still be on copper phone lines. Its a slippery slope we are on whilst government believe a phone network can deliver a solution. it can only serve those close to the exchanges and cabinets, and our average speed hides the fact that millions are on substandard connections.

    • TheFacts

      And many are close to exchanges and cabinets, plus half the country can get broadband from VM.

    • Ignitionnet

      These should be taken with caution, they measure performance to Akamai’s CDN clusters only.

      There are a lot of factors that can cause these to not be as fast as would be wished for, from congestion on the operator’s network to congestion on peering points to traffic shaping being in use.

      It is not possible to relate these results to issues with the access network specifically. The best measure of the UK’s access networks is the Ofcom testing.

      It should be noted also that Akamai can only measure what people buy – many people in the UK are quite happy to take cheap or even free ADSL2+ from Sky, TalkTalk, Primus, etc. We can’t tell them to pay more for higher speeds if they don’t actually want them, and the majority of them do have access to higher speeds as VM/FTTC do pass the majority of them close enough to improve performance.

      Chris, you’re a fibre evangelist but we have to stick to the facts. The vast majority of those in FTTC enabled areas will see >25Mb from VDSL2, with this percentage increasing further as technology evolves. Posting the same thing over and over again doesn’t change the evidence and opinions mean nothing without evidence.

      Many of those on ‘substandard’ connections choose to be because they don’t need anything more – just look at VM’s spread of connections, the vast majority of customers take the 30Mb tier because it works for them, it’s only through changes in bundling for the most part that VM have been able to increase the uptake of higher tiers.

      Lastly the use of the term ‘phone network’ isn’t accurate either. Chris in a fibre only exchange the voice service is running on a separate VLAN hence the fibre is the ‘phone network’. If you were delivering a native voice service via B4RN and a VOIP softswitch your fibre would be the ‘phone network’.

      Are you referring to the existing copper network? If you are then the government aren’t pinning their hopes on it, they are pinning them on a hybrid FITL (Fibre In The Loop) solution with some additional elements of full fibre build.

      Is it the optimal solution? Nope. Is it good enough for the foreseeable? If managed properly most likely, and Openreach have been very mindful to futureproof much of what they are doing – they are deploying very high fibre count cables to cabinets. This makes sense as I’m sure you’re aware the cost of fibre relative to civil engineering work is pretty minimal, and these fibres are being deployed for future use in FTTP.

      Openreach are, through the provisioning of these high fibre count cables and the FTTPoD product offering some private funding, showing an evolution towards full fibre rather than a revolution.

      Do remember when comparing say B4RN to Openreach that they have to run an open access network at certain pricing levels to avoid regulatory action. They have to spend their money on deploying the automated ordering systems their customers demand and ensure compliance with their undertakings. I have no doubt that if you told BT they could do what Deutsche Telekom were allowed to do and have exclusive access to any NGA they installed for a period of years or what Verizon can do with FiOS and refuse to allow access to it from anyone else at all while delivering triple play things would’ve been quite different.

  2. MikeW

    The problem we have is that most broadband customers are cheap. They want the bare-bones service that’ll do, and for many this is a bundled service on top of TV and/or phone at a very low marginal price.

    These customers don’t care about speed, only about price. There are a lot of them too – meaning that Akamai’s survey only reflects current performance, but not the current capabilities. There’s no point in attempting to use *these* stats to enforce any “our infrastructure isn’t good enough” agenda.

    If we want better infrastructure, we need to either work out how to get these people to pay more – a lot more – than they currently do. Or we need to work out how to give them an improvement that fits within their current price.

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