Research by broadband comparison site cable.co.uk has found that the UK has among the slowest broadband in Europe.
It reveals that an average British homeowner will take twice as long to download a movie than their average European counterpart, and that the country is dropping down the broadband speed league table. In last year's study the UK ranked 34 out of 221 countries, this year's it dropped to 47th place, and it is now placed 28th in Europe.
With a mean download speed of 37.82 Mb/s it takes the average Brit 18:03 minutes to download a 5Gb file, compared with 2:58 citizens of Liechtenstein, which has the fastest broadband in Europe, and indeed the world.
In fact, most of the territories with the fastest average broadband speeds are small - Liechtenstein is in the rankings followed by Jersey, Andorra, Gibraltar, Luxembourg and Iceland.
"The smaller the country's landmass, the easier it becomes to upgrade the infrastructure," Cable.co.uk notes.
The UK lags behind major European countries including Spain, France and Germany, although UK broadband speeds are faster than those in Ireland, Greece and Italy.
Globally, US and Canadian broadband speeds outpace those in the UK too. The slowest speeds were reported in Turkmenistan, Yemen and South Sudan. A South Sudanese homeowner wishing to download a 5Gb movie would need to set aside 19 hours and 31 minutes.
Comparing the regions, Western Europe enjoys the fastest broadband while Africa suffers the slowest.
The average global broadband speed has risen from 7.40Mb/s.in 2016 to 24.83Mb/s this year, but the gap between the fastest and slowest is also rising, with speeds in the more technologically advanced nations improving more rapidly.
Broadband coverage in the UK has long been patchy, with some regions enjoying the benefits of fast broadband while others languish in the slow lane. The country is currently rolling out full-fibre broadband to the home capable of download speeds of 1Gb/s to the home, but according to Ofcom figures from December this has only reached 3 million homes, 10 per cent of the total, so far.
More than half of UK homes (53 per cent) can now access ‘ultrafast broadband' (300 Mb/s or more), but Ofcom notes this figure hasn't changed much from the previous year. However, the regulator notes that 95 per cent of homes can get superfast broadband, which offers download speeds of at least 30 Mb/s.
In his March budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set aside £5 billion to get gigabit-capable broadband into the hardest to reach places by 2025. However, telecoms companies have warned that this target may be 'impossible' to achieve because of the decision to remove Huawei equipment from the country's networks.
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