The UK is rubbish at broadband – study

Millions of broadband speed tests in 221 countries, commissioned by, have revealed that average UK download speeds are among the slowest in Europe.

The UK fell 13 places since the last time this study was done and is now 47th in the world, behind significantly poorer countries including Bulgaria and Portugal. Our average download speed is 38 Mbps, compared to first-placed Liechtenstein at 230 Mpbs. To be fair most of the top countries are tiny ones that were probably able to roll out fibre on a Friday afternoon, but that’s presumably always the case.

Among equivalent Western European countries Spain leads with 56 Mbps, France has 51, Germany has 42 and Italy has 23. The US beats them all with an impressive 71. You can see how every country did in the handy interactive map below and access the whole data set here.

“Countries and territories with a heavier reliance on or ongoing investment in pure fibre (FTTP) networks, or are upgrading to fibre or LTE from even more aged technologies, continue to see their averages rise,” said Dan Howdle of “Those that are somewhat late to that particular party, however, the UK being a case in point when it comes to pure fibre networks, have slipped back as others have risen faster.

“While around 60% of the UK has access to the Virgin Media network and can get speeds of up to 516Mbps, and there is limited availability of smaller networks such as Hyperoptic offering gigabit speeds, the Openreach network remains the anchor that keeps average speeds in the UK comparatively low. Entry-level fibre packages and ‘fast’ fibre packages on Openreach have been set at around 30-35Mbps and 60-70Mbps respectively for more than five years now with no significant changes beyond how those speeds are advertised.”

This is useful context through which to view the next Openreach press release saying what a great job they’re doing. This study comes soon after Opensignal revealed what a rubbish job we’re doing at 5G too, so it seems like the UK telecoms consumer is not currently being well served by its telecoms players. Considering the obscene amounts of money being spent by the government on coronavirus stuff, there seems little chance the telecoms begging bowl will be filled in the next decade or two.

  • Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies


  1. Avatar jaun 02/09/2020 @ 5:38 pm

    The report is rubbish and highly in accurate.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 03/09/2020 @ 9:07 am


    • Avatar COOPER 04/09/2020 @ 12:56 pm


  2. Avatar Roland Rozsa 03/09/2020 @ 2:57 pm

    Though If you Travel to the country side you will not be impressed with the download speed.

    • Avatar Charles T 10/09/2020 @ 1:31 am

      I second your comment

  3. Avatar Kristina Devine 02/06/2021 @ 1:24 pm

    Being blind and in bed rest I have two routers two phone lines costing the tax payer £40 a month. I’ve got three young girls as well. From 2016 until now we have only ever had 2mb when it isn’t windy or raining. I’m not good with technology at all. But from October until march I don’t have working internet let alone a landline. I also don’t get a mobile signal. Now got Openreach refusing to do anymore repairs after I lost my patience with then for their email saying not only with the Xbox one not work but also school work will be the same…. I’m about to take my subject access request from BT , BT Openreach,Sky and Shell and hand them to anyone who will listen and help in order to get this out there that because I got angry they are refusing to attend a visually impaired agoraphobic woman who is on permanent bed rest. It’s Openreach excuse at not wanting to have to do anymore repairs on my lines and them knowing that someone like me won’t be able to take us to court or raise an action so they are just leaving the line they weren’t meant to repair broken since they touched it and the other line that the original complaint was about is still not fixed. So no mobile no landline and a deadlock letter from another ISP sad we are in the 21st century

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