back to article Big contenders in the broadband chart this week, but who will be #1? Well, not Britain

Britain's place in global broadband speed rankings has slipped four places to 35th, according to a survey. With an average speed in Blighty of 18.57Mbps, British broadband lags behind such well-connected nations as Hungary, Andorra and Madagascar – with Singapore topping the table at a whopping average of 60.39Mbps. On the …

  1. Ben1892

    Britain's place in global mobile broadband speed rankings has slipped four places to 35th, according to a survey.

    FTTP = Fibre to the Phone? at least I'll be able to find my way home more easily

  2. Pangasinan Philippines

    UK postcodes only

    The former offers a broadband speed checker on its website. ®

    Only works for UK codes.

    I have FTTH (yes home) in Manila.

  3. Christian Berger Silver badge

    I've heard of a story of FTTH in Turkey

    The interrested customer got a call around 16:55 from the company asking her if she wanted to get the line, she said yes. Around 17:00 she got a call from the installer apologizing that he wouldn't be able to make it today, but he could come round tomorrow at 09:00.

    The next day at 09:00 the installer came and not only plopped the equipment on the floor, but also neatly mounted it on the wall and left. At 09:30 an inspector came asking her if everything was alright and working fine.

    Bottom line, this was the slowest line they offered, something like 10 MBit for less than 10 Euros a month. Ohh and that company was only semi-legal, they apparently had no license, but nobody cares.

    Source should be this:

    https://wrint.de/2013/06/11/wr185-anruf-bei-helena-in-antalya/

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I've heard of a story of FTTH in Turkey

      I'm not sure of the relevance of the comparison.

      Broadband speed has a lot to do with the age of the local infrastructure, particularly in a property but also in the street. In many OECD countries cabling in the house to the next exchange is still copper because it's expensive to rip it out and replace. In many developing economies the infrastructure, especially between exchange and building will be newer, eg. fibre or coax, meaning faster broadband from the word go.

      Yes, the UK dragged its feet over upgrade the network and particularly fluffed privatisation of both BT and Cable & Wireless but other countries didn't do that much better. But I think the most important aspect is that you're talking about an unlicensed connection. What redress does the customer have if a flunky decides the connection has to go?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: I've heard of a story of FTTH in Turkey

        Its Turkey - even broadband dissidents can be disappeared.

  4. DavCrav Silver badge

    There is no way that the average speed in Madagascar, across all households, is higher than the UK. Just think about it, many people in Madagascar cannot even get broadband Internet. They are forgetting to include a load of zeroes for those people.

    It's like a country having only one, but very good, hospital. Standing inside it, you can proclaim that country has the best healthcare in the world.

    1. Stephen Lindsey

      Very true, I'm in Brussels and get 85, a friend of mine - one hour away - is getting 0.3

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      This sounds like one of the typical situations where average has very little bearing on reality since most people are quite possibly below average. What's the median speed?

      While we're at it, can we chop up the larger countries into smaller regions since I'd wager that speeds in San Fran or Arlington, VA are probably somewhat higher than those in Winnett, MT or Angle Inlet, MN?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        This sounds like one of the typical situations where average has very little bearing on reality

        True, much better to use something like quartiles for this.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Now let's be clear about this, the UK is indeed the number one in broadband speed when we compute it in the one and only proper way for the one and only proper result. Look out my British friends we will indeed copy you soon and soon we will read about how the British invented and lead the way in broadband speed.

          Calm down, just kidding, sort of, or not.

    3. Patrician

      I would think that the survey would only measure speeds of the premises that actually had a broadband connection; any that didn't wouldn't be included in the figures as their speed of "0" would make no difference to the totals. In the same way, if you wanted to find the average speed on UK roads you wouldn't include vehicles that were parked at the time.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Yes, you wouldn't count people without broadband since it's an average of broadband speeds not average internet speed per capita or some such. The problem is in using the average which can skew greatly from reality.

        Consider a sample of 10 speeds, 4 at 1 Mbps, 3 at 2 Mbps, 2 at 3 Mbps, and 1 at 1 Gbps. The average is 101.6 Mbps which is a poor metric of what people should expect, where the median is 2 Mbps which is much closer to a realistic expectation.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This misses some vital data. Firstly that without a measure of availability it’s easy to climb the rankings by simply not offering service to people outside of cities.

    Extending coverage of broadband to rural areas will lower a nation’s average speed.

    Secondly - many people (in the U.K. - most) buy on price alone. They’ll buy the cheapest available service which won’t be the fastest.

    Measuring in this way doesn’t tell you anything about how available broadband is and it doesn’t tell you how affordable it is. A country that has a single 1Gbps broadband service available only in the capital city for $300 a month and only 100 people subscribing would top this table.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Yeah, it'd be interesting to produce a graph of connection speed v. availability. The UK probably has greater than 95% availability of 20Mb/s or higher for instance. We've probably had >99% universal broadband availability for at least a decade.

      1. dcluley

        It is worse than that. The Government declare that 95% of the population has access to speeds of 24Mb/s or more. My connection is advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' but I never get more than 9.5Mb/s. When I enquired of my ISP whether a FTTC connection would be better I was told that the losses on the copper connection from cabinet to premises might actually result in a lower speed. Even if I wanted a FTTP connection the supply to here in West Sussex is a maximum of 40Mb/s.

        My son in Kidderminster who lives opposite a cabinet gets 77.5Mb/s out of a possible 80Mb/s. So basically the published figures are pie n the sky and totally unreliable as a means of comparison.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Stop

          It is worse than that. The Government declare that 95% of the population has access to speeds of 24Mb/s or more. My connection is advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' but I never get more than 9.5Mb/s.

          In what way does your particular experience make it worse than what I described? I said that 95% of properties have access to at least 20Mb/s. The fact yours is one of the unlucky ones doesn't invalidate my statement. It just means that yours is one of the unlucky ~1 million properties that can't get that speed.

          My connection is advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' but I never get more than 9.5Mb/s.

          ...aaand here we go again. Your connection is not advertised as any such thing. The service and technology that your connection is using was advertised as being capable of a particular speed under ideal conditions. Those same adverts will have warned you that the actual speed is line dependent. You will have been encouraged to get a tailored estimate for your particular line at the time you signed up and in all likelihood you will have been advised that your line was not capable of better than 9.5Mb/s.

          It's ridiculous that so many people still don't understand this, especially on a technical site like this one.

          1. dcluley

            "It's ridiculous that so many people still don't understand this, especially on a technical site like this one."

            What is ridiculous is that they have been allowed to get away with it for so long. If your electricity supply were provided on the same basis you might only get an actual supply of 50V instead of the advertised and required 240V

          2. Patrician

            "It's ridiculous that so many people still don't understand this, especially on a technical site like this one."

            No, whats "ridiculous" is that the internet industry has been allowed to use "Up To" all these years as a part of their advertising.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its not surprising while Openjoke are sweating the copper network and the new level of FTTPod installation costs are through the roof - installation estimates in the 5 figure range are common and unaffordable to most households, many of whom might have taken up the service with a lower initial cost.

    There needs to be a concerted push to bring FTTP to all areas - for too long the UK has allowed the dominant telco to extort stupid amounts of money for service over an outdated and poor quality network. Where a line has "impacted" service there is no rental reduction to reflect the lower quality infrastructure that a customer may be connected through - nor is there any incentive for openjoke to repair/replace where a line is underperfoming.

    There is a growing divide between the areas where there is a race between multiple providers for ever higher speeds, and the rest of the country where Openjoke is the bottleneck stubbornly sweating every last kbps out of tired copper (or even worse - Ally) cable, and where broadband speed is a lottery decided by how close you are able to live to a cabinet, and if you are unfortunate enough to be on an EO line... *diety* help you!

    Its time to scrap the copper!

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Agree - time to get rid of copper. Also should be discounts for crap speeds.

      But...when they do provide FTTP, and after the inevitable installation cock-ups are sorted, it works quite well. No extra cost. No issues about 'living near the cabinet'. In my case they even switched the phone to fibre (so the hard-wired extension no longer works, but that's another issue!) 300Mbps is the advertised rate, and that's basically what I get. Rather less when I connect via a VPN though, but 50Mbps is pretty good for most things.

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: There needs to be a concerted push to bring FTTP to all areas

      In the news yesterday they were talking about insisting all new homes get charging points for electric cars. How about insisting that they get fibre too.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: There needs to be a concerted push to bring FTTP to all areas

        How about insisting that they get fibre too.

        Should have done that at least ten years ago. A foresighted government (haha) would've done it twenty years ago. Interestingly BT did offer to do that in the 80s in exchange for TV broadcast rights but Maggie turned 'em down and created the cable market instead.

        Would be interesting to know what the residential internet situation in the UK would be in an alternative universe where Maggie agreed to BT's request.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: There needs to be a concerted push to bring FTTP to all areas

        and a private beach... I want a private beach damnit!

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      "Its time to scrap the copper!". Easy there, copper is not scrap at all.

  7. 080

    I am sitting in sunny rural France and at the moment enjoying broadband provided by the national company at 0.88Mbps, tomorrow the guy is supposed to turn up and connect us to the fibre on the pole outside, I hope its a little bit faster.

  8. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, if BT hadn't sit on there arse from the late 70s to mid 90s as they "had the best network in the world" and allowed everyone else to catch up and overtake, we might have been not to far behind singapore.

    regulations should be made, all new housing must have FTTP and all new developments must include fibre ducting.

  9. Anonymous Coward
  10. Oengus

    Be glad...

    Britain's place in global mobile broadband speed rankings has slipped four places to 35th, according to a survey.

    Be glad for your position although you have slipped... I had a look at our position and while we have moved up 3 places we are still well down in 52nd place and I still can't connect to the new NBN despite the fact that I live in an affluent suburb of Sydney. I am lucky to get half of the "Mean Download speed" even during off-peak times.

    1. julian.smith
      FAIL

      Re: Be glad...

      There's an election coming cobber .... remember Turnbull's "everyone will have broadband by the end of 2016"?

      Perhaps a good kick in the nuts

  11. jphb
    Holmes

    In the 1990's a company called Telewest (remember them) dug up all the pavements in town and generally created a mess that everybody moaned about. They installed twin coaxial links back to kerbside cabinets with separate wires for a POTS service. Rates seemed reasonable and the cable TV was attractive (no unsightly aerials) so I signed up, domestic Internet connections were for the future. Still with them, although it's now Virgin Media, the Internet connection now gives a rock solid 220 Mb although I understand it'll hit the buffers at 350 Mb.

    If 25+ year old technology can do this, what have BT been playing at for the last quarter century?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Telewest went bust, as did all the cable companies that built infrastructure. The company branded as Virgin running them now can survive because it bought the assets in a firesale for pennies on the pound. Those original owners went bust despite being vertically integrated and not having to wholesale their services. In telecoms it’s hard to avoid the inescapable truth of ‘build it and you’ll go bust’.

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