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UK broadband speeds still trail global hot spots

Bradford offers fastest UK broadband

The UK is a country that enjoys a high level of broadband penetration but generally mediocre performance, Akamai's latest State of the Internet Report has revealed.

The Q2 2011 report paints a similar picture to last year, which found that the UK sat in a mediocre 27th place for average connections speeds, which it has now bettered by two places.

Up to the end of Q2 of this year, average connection speeds had increased to around 5Mbps, up from 3.9Mbps at the same point a year before, with 91 percent of subscribers able to achieve connections speeds above 2Mbps.

Less impressively, the report found that not a single UK town or city enjoys broadband fast enough to make it into the top 100 for global performance on a list dominated by Japanese cities which took 59 places.

It was a similar picture when it came to peak average connection speeds (the fastest average speeds seen by Akamai) where the UK came 28th globally with around 19Mbps. For the record, the best peak broadband speed seen in the UK was in Bradford, which offers up to 23.5Mbps.

The question is whether any of this matters.

The European countries that score good average broadband performance are overwhelmingly small, relatively compact countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands; set beside countries of a similar size to the UK such as Germany and France, all of which have a lot of older telecoms infrastructure, the UK's average speeds look perfectly respectable.

What will drive connection speeds in medium size and larger countries will be specific applications such as video and TV on demand which has still to take off in earnest.

Global mobile data connections speeds now range from as little as 209kbpps to highs of around 5Mbps, far behind fixed broadband. Three quarters of mobile subscribers receive over 1Mbps on average. Again, as might be expected, smaller countries enjoy better average connection speeds.


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