Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

UK's average broadband speed is slower than Romania's

Even some formerly Communist countries such as Romania have faster average broadband speeds than the UK, which isn't even in the top 10.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
Expertise Copy editing, football, Civilization and other old-man games, West Wing trivia
Nick Hide
2 min read

The UK is lagging behind on broadband speed, with even formerly Communist countries such as Romania outstripping us, according to new data from content delivery network Akamai.

Akamai, which streams its customers' video and other digital content over the Internet, says the UK's average broadband speed is a sluggish 6.3Mbps, compared to 6.4Mbps in that Web-savvy, high-tech hotspot Romania.

The UK also languishes behind comparable European countries such as Ireland (6.7Mbps), Belgium (also 6.7Mbps), Sweden (6.8Mbps) and the Netherlands (8.5Mbps).

The US averages 7.2Mbps, Japan a speedy 10.5Mbps and South Korea a lightning-fast 14.7Mbps -- more than double the UK's sloth-like average.

The fastest average in the world is currently held by Hong Kong, with a staggering 54Mbps.

I asked BT for comment on Britain's standing outside the top 10 countries in the world, and what it was doing to bump up our average.

"There are lots of companies comparing broadband speeds across the world using a variety of different measures," a BT spokesperson told me. "The results of this report are contrary to those from Ookla which recently found that the UK is second only to Japan for average broadband speeds amongst the G8." True enough, although Ookla ranks the UK 23rd in the world, again behind Romania.

It could be worse. Britain's connections tend to be faster than those in Germany (5.9Mbps), France (4.8Mbps) and Italy (an addormentato 3.9Mbps). Bottom of the heap is Eritrea, in eastern Africa, whose few Web-connected citizens have to put up with sub-dial-up speeds of 132Kbps.

Akamai's data comes from the third quarter of 2012. The company said speeds across Europe are generally improving, whereas worldwide the quarter saw a slowdown to an average of 2.8Mbps -- less than half the UK's average.

Security threats were also measured, with fully a third of all 'attack traffic' originating in China. The US was second on the list with 14 per cent of attacks originating there, with Russia far behind in third on 4.7 per cent.

British broadband sped up by 20 per cent last year, according to the telecoms watchdog Ofcom, boosted by superfast packages from BT and Virgin, with its Double Your Speeds programme. Sky admitted this week that its broadband was crawling to a halt, however, weighed down by too many new subscribers attracted to its unlimited downloads.

How's your broadband speed? Are you stuck in the Eritrean slow lane? Or faster than a Korean? Ping me a comment below, or over on our superfast Facebook page.

Update 25 January: Added comment from BT.