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Study Ranks UK 71st Cheapest in the World for Fixed Broadband

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 (8:31 am) - Score 1,153

A new study from Cable.co.uk has examined 3,095 fixed broadband ISP packages from 206 countries to create a global pricing comparison, which reveals that the UK ranks just 71st cheapest overall with an average monthly cost of $35.71 (£27.45) and we drop to 82nd when ranked by average cost per megabit of speed ($1.07).

The research, which used data gathered between 28th November 2019 and 8th January 2020, appears to highlight a continuing decline in the United Kingdom’s global ranking. For example, back in 2018 the same report placed the UK in 61st ($39.58 USD) position for average monthly package cost and 54th position for cost per megabit ($1.19).

On the flip side the UK still manages to come out as the 6th cheapest out of 29 countries in Western Europe, topped by only Italy, France, Germany, Andorra and Monaco. But once again if we were to order this group by cost per megabit of broadband speed then the UK would rank just 19th out of 29 countries.

The above result largely highlights the fact that most of Europe is now well ahead of the UK in deployments of gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology (here), although Virgin Media’s roll-out of 1Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 technology (here) and the rapid growth in full fibre coverage may yet have a positive impact upon our ranking in future updates.

The study also notes that global broadband speeds have accelerated by 20.65% on average between 2018 and 2019, meanwhile the average price of a broadband package has fallen between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2020 by almost one fifth (19.97%).

The Big Caveats

However it’s important to reflect that the core ranking of this study doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, war torn Syria comes out as the top cheapest with an average monthly package cost of $6.60, but then most of their broadband (where it still works) seems to be via ADSL and the collapse of the Syrian Pound has had a huge impact when converted into USD. On a cost per megabit measure ($3.30), Syria is ranked just 126th overall.

Research like this also cannot easily reflect the other differences between packages, such as any value-added extras (static IP addresses, different router quality, anti-virus controls, unlimited vs capped data allowances etc.). Doing a true apples-to-apples comparison would thus be nightmarishly difficult and it would be interesting to see what happens if the results were weighted to reflect cost using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

The application of PPP is important because there can be huge differences between countries in terms of things like taxation, infrastructure standards, size of the state and monthly salaries. So you might well pay significantly less for a 100Mbps service in, for example, the Ukraine but that’s not strictly a fair apples-to-apples comparison. Now on to the results.

Rank Country Average cost of broadband (monthly in USD) Average cost of broadband (per megabit per month in USD)
1 Syria $6.60 $3.30
2 Ukraine $6.64 $0.07
3 Russian Federation $7.35 $0.09
4 Romania $8.15 $0.02
5 Belarus $9.87 $0.92
6 Bhutan $10.42 $5.21
7 Iran $10.50 $3.60
8 Kazakhstan $11.10 $10.24
9 Lithuania $11.14 $0.06
10 Vietnam $11.23 $0.24
11 Uzbekistan $11.44 $1.05
12 Moldova $11.57 $0.25
13 Nepal $12.05 $0.49
14 Mongolia $12.59 $3.38
15 India $12.90 $0.50
16 Turkey $13.61 $0.57
17 Argentina $13.69 $0.88
18 Egypt $13.82 $5.99
19 Georgia $13.86 $1.33
20 Tunisia $14.28 $0.83
21 Armenia $14.60 $1.76
22 Poland $15.78 $0.04
23 Bulgaria $15.93 $0.16
24 Latvia $16.55 $0.20
25 Azerbaijan $16.76 $7.46
26 Hungary $16.91 $0.22
27 Serbia $17.02 $0.23
28 Pakistan $17.55 $1.25
29 Slovakia $18.54 $0.40
30 Israel $19.90 $0.44
31 Northern Macedonia $20.11 $0.49
32 Bosnia and Herzegovina $20.19 $2.47
33 Albania $20.55 $0.66
34 Eswatini $21.73 $21.22
35 Czechia $22.38 $0.37
36 Réunion $22.45 $0.04
37 Thailand $23.82 $0.22
38 Paraguay $24.46 $0.77
39 Saint Martin (France) $24.65 $0.22
40 Colombia $25.05 $1.04
41 South Korea $25.52 $0.20
42 Afghanistan $25.87 $37.50
43 Algeria $25.93 $4.80
44 Peru $26.17 $1.11
45 Dominican Republic $26.52 $4.47
46 Bangladesh $27.35 $2.19
47 Taiwan $27.36 $0.48
48 Sri Lanka $27.40 $2.26
49 France $27.81 $0.49
50 Brazil $28.24 $0.59
51 Kyrgyzstan $28.70 $8.57
52 Germany $28.74 $0.50
53 Estonia $28.93 $0.54
54 Indonesia $30.02 $0.69
55 Montenegro $30.04 $0.56
56 Slovenia $31.16 $1.89
57 China $31.41 $0.24
58 Malaysia $31.75 $0.24
59 Palestine, State of $31.90 $1.93
60 Cambodia $32.63 $2.88
61 Andorra $32.65 $0.09
62 Mayotte $32.78 $3.33
63 Mexico $33.15 $0.41
64 Italy $33.28 $0.77
65 Croatia $33.69 $0.50
66 Morocco $33.81 $1.45
67 Chile $33.99 $0.19
68 Monaco $34.49 $0.23
69 Canada $34.86 $0.79
70 Tajikistan $35.58 $33.55
71 United Kingdom $35.71 $1.07
72 Austria $35.99 $0.56
73 Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts) $36.34 $0.52
74 Cape Verde $36.45 $3.00
75 Myanmar $36.82 $2.24
76 Macau $37.48 $0.75
77 Guatemala $38.13 $7.78
78 Senegal $38.82 $3.88
79 New Caledonia $39.02 $2.90
80 Philippines $39.29 $1.01
81 Spain $39.38 $0.23
82 Sweden $39.60 $0.12
83 Suriname $39.82 $2.75
84 Uruguay $40.10 $0.54
85 Lebanon $40.14 $10.28
86 Japan $40.33 $2.31
87 Malta $40.33 $0.35
88 Greece $40.56 $0.87
89 Åland Islands $40.74 $2.00
90 Iraq $41.49 $2.10
91 Bolivia $41.53 $7.70
92 El Salvador $41.96 $4.61
93 The Netherlands $42.43 $0.34
94 Grenada $42.55 $2.61
95 Costa Rica $43.22 $3.19
96 Singapore $43.80 $0.03
97 Finland $43.85 $0.35
98 Ecuador $43.87 $2.54
99 Martinique $44.32 $0.36
100 Belgium $44.39 $0.94
101 South Africa $44.77 $2.24
102 Togo $45.91 $1.84
103 Gibraltar $46.13 $0.43
104 French Guiana $47.05 $0.42
105 Lao People’s Democratic Republic $47.24 $4.33
106 Hong Kong $47.35 $0.08
107 Panama $47.45 $2.83
108 Jamaica $47.57 $4.79
109 Puerto Rico $47.99 $4.00
110 St. Pierre and Miquelon $48.04 $12.11
111 Luxembourg $48.16 $0.89
112 Denmark $48.23 $3.14
113 Australia $48.35 $1.73
114 Kuwait $48.89 $4.84
115 San Marino $48.97 $0.27
116 Cyprus $49.39 $2.31
117 Portugal $49.42 $0.20
118 Saint Lucia $49.95 $1.09
119 United States $50.00 $0.26
120 Mauritius $50.30 $1.01
121 Papua New Guinea $51.06 $25.95
122 Dominica $51.43 $1.81
123 Libya $51.97 $19.69
124 Somalia $52.50 $54.88
125 New Zealand $54.00 $0.47
126 Guyana $54.66 $9.09
127 Niger $55.07 $222.12
128 Fiji $55.42 $65.84
129 Kenya $56.11 $2.66
130 Jordan $56.42 $0.49
131 Nicaragua $56.50 $5.56
132 Trinidad and Tobago $56.73 $0.83
133 Ireland $57.32 $0.44
134 Timor-Leste $57.33 $27.99
135 Isle of Man $57.80 $0.92
136 Angola $59.04 $10.49
137 Mali $59.34 $12.71
138 Benin $59.34 $80.71
139 Barbados $59.46 $0.45
140 Honduras $60.00 $3.07
141 Cameroon $60.47 $12.04
142 Guadeloupe $61.10 $0.53
143 Guernsey $62.14 $1.57
144 Belize $62.54 $3.32
145 Zimbabwe $63.87 $3.19
146 Iceland $64.71 $0.39
147 Côte d’Ivoire $66.12 $12.35
148 Aruba $66.95 $0.44
149 Liechtenstein $66.99 $2.86
150 Madagascar $67.21 $0.67
151 Ghana $69.54 $4.28
152 Norway $70.97 $1.02
153 Ethiopia $71.15 $23.44
154 Switzerland $72.10 $2.25
155 Saint Helena $72.26 $47.04
156 Sao Tome and Prencipe $74.00 $12.33
157 Saint Kitts and Nevis $76.58 $2.81
158 Gabon $77.91 $12.17
159 Oman $77.91 $2.27
160 Nigeria $78.21 $4.34
161 Montserrat $78.43 $17.74
162 Faroe Islands $78.49 $3.31
163 Curaçao $78.57 $3.48
164 Guam $79.00 $3.36
165 French Polynesia $80.14 $12.49
166 Caribbean Netherlands $80.89 $3.49
167 Jersey $80.97 $0.17
168 Micronesia (Federated States of) $81.00 $35.32
169 Antigua and Barbuda $82.14 $2.95
170 Bahamas $82.56 $6.72
171 Saudi Arabia $82.85 $0.81
172 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines $83.25 $0.56
173 American Samoa $85.00 $81.20
174 Virgin Islands (U.S.) $85.97 $2.12
175 Marshall Islands $86.20 $135.42
176 Maldives $88.53 $5.90
177 Palau $89.98 $9.00
178 Cook Islands $92.12 $19.05
179 Lesotho $94.04 $64.11
180 Djibouti $95.07 $21.27
181 Vanuatu $95.25 $92.07
182 Sint Maarten $95.44 $7.95
183 Comoros $98.23 $63.32
184 Anguilla $99.54 $3.40
185 Qatar $109.87 $1.65
186 Botswana $112.38 $16.86
187 United Arab Emirates $115.97 $42.09
188 Seychelles $122.72 $12.58
189 Haiti $124.50 $7.74
190 Bermuda $129.98 $9.95
191 Namibia $133.38 $5.09
192 Bahrain $145.89 $6.01
193 Falkland Islands $147.74 $43.72
194 Cayman Islands $150.07 $3.53
195 Brunei Darussalam $157.02 $3.21
196 Greenland $163.68 $19.83
197 Mozambique $175.25 $16.08
198 Virgin Islands (British) $179.00 $1.29
199 Tanzania $188.16 $43.18
200 Turkmenistan $224.68 $124.03
201 Equatorial Guinea $259.38 $150.57
202 Burundi $283.73 $94.40
203 Turks and Caicos Islands $310.08 $2.25
204 Mauritania $694.63 $122.43
205 Yemen $2,466.67 $176.19
206 Eritrea $2,666.24 $1,590.75

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Alex

    Wow look at romania, 0.02 per mb.
    Seriously uk you can learn something from a less developed country that offers 1gbps for less then 10&

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Alex
      As Mark notes in the article, the table is largely meaningless without adjustment to allow for purchasing power parity, as are comparisons with individual countries.

    • Avatar Brian

      Just done the maths currently $5.72 per mb per month on slow adsl2

    • Avatar Mark

      But if say the UK average wage is £2000 while the average in Romania is £200 (all figures are random) then that $10/£10/€10 whatever would feel more like £100 to us

  2. Avatar CarlT

    As already noted in another comment and in the article meaningless without being converted to take account of PPP.

    Country with average wage 1/5th that of the UK in cheaper stuff shock.

    Country with far less stringent regulations on performance of broadband services, your gigabit can slow to double digits with no comeback, in cheaper shock.

    • Avatar Gary

      Totally, If people take a look at a ranking of GNI (PPP) then the results of the table ‘generally’ stack up, Japan Canada, France etc. There’s so much more to this than they allude to.

      The UK however does seem to have this love affair with tiering of product lines regardless of the actual impact of the cost of providing said service.

  3. Avatar A_Builder

    Yup I visited my brother working in Romania and experienced their FTTP broadband.

    Sometimes it worked very well. Sometimes it hardly worked at all.

    There were clearly massive backhaul congestion problems at peak times. And international backhaul costs real money to provide. So no surprise there.

    Oh and if it breaks – don’t hold your breath that anyone will fix it any time soon.

    Personally I think that UK broadband /FTTP (excluding OR which is still overpriced) is about as cheap as it can be otherwise investment will be choked off. The rapidly growing FTTP networks are generally at a totally different level of quality and throughput to what is on offer in Romania and I would rather we carried on as we are building gold standard stuff and then let competition Alt Net / VM / OR take care of the pricing.

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