UK broadband is both expensive and sloooow

The Japanese have it all - fast, cheap internet that's only getting better.

Even though it pains both us and our readers in the UK, we often bring you news from the other side of the world on the latest developments that are driving domestic internet access speeds into the stratosphere in countries like Japan and Korea.

Zippy 100Mbit/s connections as the norm are all very well for them, but at least we have great ADSL penetration, so things are relatively well balanced, aren't they? Well, no, they aren't - as the Times reports, 90 per cent of Brits may be supping from a broadband pipe, but it's still a mere trickle beside the data cataracts gushing into homes elsewhere in the world.

Paying through the nose

The latest report [PDF link] from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation shows that Britain's average connection speed of 2.6Mbit/s ranks alongside Turkey, Hungary and Mexico near the bottom of the ladder. By contrast, Japanese surfers get their fix at 61Mbit/s on average.

That's not all - UK users pay $11 (£5.33) per Mbit/s for that dribble, whereas the lucky folk in Tokyo need to fork out just 27 cents (13 pence) for the same small slice of bandwidth. "Where's the justice in that?" we hear you cry.

Future looks faster

For now, there isn't any - the UK has a notoriously old-fashioned infrastructure that makes digging up streets to lay cables expensive - but there is hope for the future.

New technologies, like DOCSIS, WiMax and even the slightly older VDSL may come to the rescue before long, but we have to wonder will we in the UK be even further off the pace by that time? We suspect you already know the answer.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.