Britain's broadband shock: The terrible truth about your internet connection

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Having a quick and reliable internet contention has never been more vital. The whole of the UK is staring down more time at home due to the lockdown and that means the daily onslaught of streaming, video calls, online multiplayer, surfing online and more will continue for some time.

Despite a recent report that UK broadband speeds are improving, it appears we’re lagging well behind when it comes to speeds across the globe. The latest update from SpeedTest.net reveals how badly Britain performs when compared to other countries.

In fact, according to the latest March 2020 results, the UK is currently 44th when it comes to fixed-line speeds – with an average of just 66.99Mbps. That’s well behind Singapore (197Mbps), Hong Kong (168Mbps), Romania (151Mbps) and Thailand (149Mbps).

Even more embarrassing is the fact that Britain is comprehensively beaten by countries like Latvia (99Mbps), Slovakia (73Mbps) and Slovenia (69Mbps).

The difference between the best speeds in Singapore and the UK become apparent when you see how long it takes to download a blockbuster movie on your home Wi-Fi connection in each country. Those in Singapore will get a film beamed onto their TV in two minutes – compared to eight minutes in the UK.

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Britain broadband speeds are poor compared to the rest of the world (Image: GETTY)

Of course, Britain’s broadband is getting a little better with around four million extra homes and businesses expected to gain access to fast fibre by March 2021.

“Our full-fibre build programme is going great guns, having passed over two million premises already on the way to our four million target by March 2021,” said Openreach chief executive Clive Selley.

Although the latest speed league won’t impress many UK users there is some good news about the progress of our connections.

According to a report from comparethemarket.com, it appears a number of areas across Britain have seen a rapid boost to internet speeds over the past year with some homes now able to download files at a much quicker pace.

Coming top of the speed league was Hull in Yorkshire who saw the biggest improvements between 2018 and 2019.

This part of the UK witnessed bitrates rise by over 50Mbps which now gives Hull an average of 131Mbps. At that rate, you’d be able to download a blockbuster HD movie in around five minutes.

Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the most rural communities that are being left behind. The Orkney Islands in Scotland has the highest proportion of properties that fall below this standard, followed by other rural areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the news Holly Niblett, Head of Digital at comparethemarket.com said: “With the UK on lockdown, internet connectivity is more important than ever, whether it be for working from home or streaming movies and TV shows. While it is encouraging that broadband speed has improved in some parts of the country, there is still some way to go.

“Whilst the government recently pledged to increase broadband infrastructure spending, there are still hundreds of thousands of homes without decent broadband and the vast majority of these are in remote areas. With a significant number of people now working from home, lack of connectivity could be a serious cause for concern.”


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