Britain 'performs well' on broadband

Fibre optic progress puts UK broadband near the top of a European league table. That's according to a government report, although it doesn't mention our speeds.

A new report ranks the UK's broadband among the best in Europe.

Published by Ofcom, the telecoms industry regulator, the European Broadband Scorecard report measures the government's progress towards its ambition for the UK to have the best superfast broadband of any European country by 2015.

It concludes that Britain "generally performs well" among other European countries. However, it only assesses the UK's position within the 'EU5' - the European Union's five leading economies - made up of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK.

On several important factors - including coverage, price and choice of providers - the UK ranks between third and first in the list of five countries.

In terms of superfast broadband coverage, the UK is slightly behind Germany and Spain but ahead of Italy and France. It puts Britain in third place overall, with two-thirds of UK premises now able to access a fibre optic connection offering speeds of 24Mb or higher.

The report found we also have some of the cheapest broadband in Europe.

However, the report doesn't mention speeds, which in Britain are known to be extremely varied. Slow connections are a source of frustration for many UK broadband users - particularly those in rural areas with poorer networking infrastructure.

Ofcom said that, due to various difficulties in conducting accurate speed tests, it had decided not to include speed as a way of assessing the UK's broadband.

A recent study by Akamai, a company that develops software for the web, found the UK has only the 12th fastest broadband in Europe, with nations including the Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania ahead of our average 6.3Mb connection.

But the UK would've ranked highest had the speeds of the EU5 countries been compared in Ofcom's report. Germany (5.9Mb), France (4.8Mb), Spain (4.8Mb) and Italy (3.9Mb) were even further down Akamai's list.

Do you think Britain will have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015? Have your say in the comments section below.

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