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Global Internet Speeds Average 5.6Mbps in Q4 2015 vs 13.9Mbps in the UK

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 (11:30 am) - Score 7,834

The latest Akamai State of the Internet Q4 2015 report has revealed that the UK’s average fixed line broadband download speed is now 13.9Mbps (up from 13Mbps in Q3 2015), which compares with a global average of 5.6Mbps (up from 5.1Mbps in Q3). But despite this improvement the UK’s country ranking has dropped from 14th to 17th.

Overall the United Kingdom saw a quarterly improvement (albeit slower than some of our rivals) in its average broadband download speed of 6.8%, which is down from the 10% increase that was reported in Q3 2015. By comparison the global average speed saw an increase of 8.6% over the same period, although this is being pulled down by some considerably slower countries.

 UK Broadband Performance Q4 2015 Q3 2015 Q2 2015
% of Users Able to Achieve 4Mbps+ 89% 87% 85%
% of Users Able to Achieve 10Mbps+ 50% 46% 41%
% of Users Able to Achieve 15Mbps+ 32% 28% 23%
Peak Download Speed 56.8Mbps 54.2Mbps 50.9Mbps
Average Download Speed
13.9Mbps 13Mbps 11.8Mbps
Global Country Ranking (Average Speeds) 17th 14th 19th

It’s vital to note that Akamai’s figures are based off the performance of their global Content Delivery Network, which accounts for around 15-30% of all web traffic, although this doesn’t accurately reflect actual end-user connection speeds; it’s more a reflection of the CDN performance and its related connections to ISPs around the world.

Never the less Akamai’s report does provide for a useful, if somewhat rough, overview of how Internet connection quality is changing between the different countries. Unfortunately it only references the performance of existing connections, which can also be dragged down by poor WiFi, people on slower or more restrictive packages and the ISPs own servers etc.

As an example, South Korea is well covered by Gigabit capable fibre optic (FTTH/P) broadband networks and so it’s no surprise to find that they top the performance table. But at the same time their average speeds are well below the top capabilities of those FTTH/P platforms, which reflects the impact from what we said above.

Top 10 – Global Average Connection Speeds

Country/Region Q4 Avg. Mbps QoQ Change YoY Change
Global 5.6 8.6% 23%
1 South Korea 26.7 30% 20%
2 Sweden 19.1 9.3% 30%
3 Norway 18.8 14% 65%
4 Japan 17.4 16% 15%
5 Netherlands 17.0 8.7% 20%
6 Hong Kong 16.8 5.9% -0.4%
7 Latvia 16.7 15% 28%
8 Switzerland 16.7 2.8% 15%
9 Finland 16.6 12% 37%
10 Denmark 16.1 15% 36%

Akamai’s report also allows us to compare the United Kingdom with countries that are a little closer to home in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, which unsurprisingly finds us trailing behind many of the Scandinavian and a few smaller EU states where broadband connectivity is often more advanced.

On the flip side we still run ahead of the major EU economies like Germany, France, Spain and Italy, most of which have similar telecoms infrastructure and deployment plans to our own. However Spain and France to have quite a bit of ultrafast FTTH/B/P in some parts and this is slowly spreading.

The Top EMEA Countries – Average Connection Speeds

Global Rank Country/Region Q4 Avg. Mbps QoQ Change YoY Change
2 Sweden 19.1 9.3% 30%
3 Norway 18.8 14% 65%
5 Netherlands 17.0 8.7% 20%
8 Switzerland 16.7 2.8% 15%
9 Finland 16.6 12% 37%
10 Denmark 16.1 15% 36%
11 Czech Republic 15.9 9.2% 29%
15 Belgium 14.2 11% 31%
17 United Kingdom 13.9 6.8% 27%
19 Romania 13.2 0.9% 14%
22 Germany 12.9 12% 46%
23 Ireland 12.8 2.7% 0.7%
24 Hungary 12.6 19% 45%
25 Slovakia 12.5 12% 53%
27 Austria 12.3 8.4% 26%
29 Portugal 12.1 14% 51%
30 Spain 12.1 17% 48%
32 Israel 11.6 3.8% 9.2%
33 Russia 11.6 14% 30%
36 Poland 11.0 3.9% 25%
44 France 8.9 9.4% 26%
51 Italy 7.4 14% 33%
53 United Arab Emirates 6.9 2.2% 21%
63 Turkey 6.3 0.8% 8.9%
90 South Africa 4.1 11% 26%

Interestingly this report also reintroduces Akamai’s Mobile Broadband connectivity statistics, which were stripped last year due to concerns over accuracy (the results did tend to vary quite wildly). The new report thus claims to be “leveraging improved mobile network identification algorithms” to enhance the results.

However the study also warns that “even with an improved ability to identify connections coming from mobile network providers, the active use of proxies within many of these providers influences the measured speeds.”

This is important because Akamai’s research claims that the United Kingdom had the fastest average mobile connection speed at 26.8 Mbps, with Spain in second place at 14.0 Mbps. The UK also had a strong peak mobile connection speed of 73Mbps and apparently 89% of connections were delivering Internet speeds of above 4Mbps.

At the other end of the scale Iran was found to have the lowest average connection speed, at 1.3 Mbps, followed by Vietnam with an average connection speed of 1.8 Mbps. Take all of this with a pinch of salt.

Akamai’s State of the Internet Q4 2015 Report
http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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