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Q1-2016 Global Average Internet Speeds Hit 6.3Mbps vs 14.9Mbps in UK

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 (8:41 am) - Score 8,588
state of the internet - global broadband speed connectivity heatmap

The latest Akamai State of the Internet Q1 2016 study has reported that the United Kingdom’s average fixed line broadband download speed is now 14.9Mbps (up from 13.9Mbps at the end of 2015) vs a global average of 6.3Mbps (up from 5.6Mbps). But sadly the UK’s country ranking has fallen yet again from 17th to 19th.

As usual we’ll begin with a general summary of the United Kingdom, which experienced another steady quarterly improvement in its average broadband download speeds of +7.2% (up from the +6.8% in Q4 2015, but down from +10% in Q3 2015). By comparison the global average Internet download speed improved by a more respectable +12.5% over the same period.

UK Fixed Line Broadband Performance Q1 2016 Q4 2015 Q3 2015
% of Users Able to Achieve 4Mbps+ 91% 89% 87%
% of Users Able to Achieve 10Mbps+ 53% 50% 46%
% of Users Able to Achieve 15Mbps+ 36% 32% 28%
Peak Download Speed 61Mbps 56.8Mbps 54.2Mbps
Average Download Speed
14.9Mbps 13.9Mbps 13Mbps
Global Country Ranking (Average Speeds) 19th 17th 14th

The UK has improved, although it still seems to be doing so at a slower pace than many other countries in the top 30 (see further below for some comparisons).

David Belson, Editor of the SoTI Report, said:

“Live sports will be at the forefront this summer as we prepare for the games in Brazil, with expectations that this year’s events will be watched by more online viewers than ever. Global connection speeds have more than doubled since the summer of 2012, which can help support higher quality video streaming for bigger audiences across even more connected devices and platforms.”

On the other hand this data should be taken with a pinch of salt because Akamai’s figures are based off the performance of their global Content Delivery Network (accounts for around 15-30% of all web traffic), which doesn’t accurately reflect actual end-user connection speeds.

At the other end of the scale we have South Korea, which is well covered by Gigabit capable fibre optic (FTTH/P) broadband networks and so it’s no surprise to find that they top the table. On the other hand their average speeds are well below the top capabilities of those FTTH/P networks, which reflects the CDN impact and the fact that actual subscribers may adopt slower speed packages to save money. Performance can also be dragged down by slow WiFi, ISP Traffic Management measures, network congestion and so forth.

akamai_q1_2016_average_top_10_global_country_broadband_speeds

The UK obviously doesn’t appear in either of the two Top 10 tables for average and peak Internet connection speeds (downstream), but at least for now we still remain ranked above the other major EU economies of Germany, France, Italy and Spain (see direct comparison further below).

However our position in respect to the Scandinavian (e.g. Sweden is a known hotspot for FTTH/P infrastructure) and some East European states is rather less positive, not least since one of our closest neighbours (Norway) is currently topping the table and also happens to be no.2 in the whole world.

Back in 2013 the incoming Norwegian government promised to ensure that all homes could access 100Mbps speeds, while today the UK is still working towards ensuring that 95-97% can access 24Mbps+ or 30Mbps+ capable services. You can compare that with some of the plans from other EU member states (here).

akamai_q1_2016_top_20_average_and_peak_european_country_broadband_speeds

Akamai’s report also offers a glimpse into the 3G and 4G data performance of Mobile Network Operators (i.e. Mobile Broadband), which is one area where the United Kingdom appears to do a lot better and indeed we’re the fastest country in Europe with an average mobile connection speed of 27.9Mbps (peak speeds of 66.5Mbps). But Germany delivered the fastest peak speeds of 171.6Mbps.

The Fastest Countries for Avg. Mobile Speeds by Region

• Africa: Kenya, 5.9Mbps
• Asia Pacific: South Korea, 13.0Mbps
• Europe: United Kingdom, 27.9Mbps
• North America: Canada and Puerto Rico, 8.8Mbps
• South America: Paraguay, 6.1Mbps

The Fastest Countries for Peak Mobile Speeds by Region

• Africa: Angola, 86.8Mbps
• Asia Pacific: Australia, 147.6Mbps
• Europe: Germany, 171.6Mbps
• North America: Canada, 68.9Mbps
• South America: Peru, 70.5Mbps

However even Akamai admits that its measurement of mobile connection speeds can be fraught with problems, not least due to the active use of proxies within many providers. Mobile connections are also by their very nature, mobile, and thus the quality of any given connection will vary depending upon your location, device and signal strength. Suffice to say that we don’t cover this aspect much due to the potential for misleading results.

Akamai’s State of the Internet Q1 2016 Report
http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/

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