UK climbs world internet speed ranks

The world’s average speeds are increasing, and the UK outpaces much of Europe including Germany, France and Spain - but there’s still a long way to go before we’re anywhere near the top of the global league table.

As more countries adopt fibre optic broadband, internet speeds around the world are increasing at quite a phenomenal rate, according to new data published this week.

The State of the Internet report by US technology firm Akamai shows the world's average download speeds went up by 5.5% in the final three months of 2013. Globally, it's now about 3.8Mb while the average UK home receives broadband speeds of around 9.4Mb.

It means the UK's internet is now 13th fastest in the world, up from 14th place a few months earlier, and it puts us ahead of most of Europe, with slower countries including Germany (7.7Mb), Spain (6.6Mb), France (6.6Mb) and Italy (5.2Mb).

Global rank Country/region Average speed (Mb)
1 South Korea 21.9
2 Japan 12.8
3 Netherlands 12.4
4 Hong Kong 12.2
5 Switzerland 12.0
6 Czech Republic 11.4
7 Sweden 10.5
8 Latvia 10.4
9 Ireland 10.4
10 United States 10.0
11 Belgium 9.8
12 Denmark 9.5
13 United Kingdom 9.4
14 Finland 9.1
15 Austria 9.0

David Belson, the report's author, said: "We've reached a significant milestone in the improvement of average connection speeds.

"The fact that all of the top 10 countries' average connection speeds are now at or exceeding the 'high' broadband speed threshold (10Mb) - and the continued strong growth in countries like South Korea and Ireland - is indicative of the progress that's being made."

South Korea's impressive 21.9Mb is down to its investment in fibre optic broadband. You see, South Korea's broadband is unhindered by old-fashioned copper telephone wire, which is still used in some way to connect most UK homes.

The good news is the UK's government is currently investing more than £500million to ensure that at least 95% of the UK population can get fibre optic broadband by 2017.

Around two-thirds of us already have access to superfast broadband services - the likes of BT Infinity and Sky Fibre - offering speeds of up to 76Mb, and if you live in a Virgin Media area, there's an even slicker 152Mb package available.

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