UK broadband speeds are falling behind the rest of Europe

The UK is not faring well at all in terms of broadband speeds compared to the rest of Europe, according to a freshly released report.

The research, which was published by, crunched data from over 63 million broadband speed tests across the globe, and found that the UK had an average (mean) download speed of 16.51Mbps.

That’s not a complete slouch in terms of the performance rankings, because it meant that the UK was ranked 31st out of 158 countries – but worryingly, we were behind 19 other European countries, so we’re hardly front-runners in our own continent.

Countries we’ve fallen behind include the likes of Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and more…

According to the figures, a number of European broadband powerhouses dominated the top ten speediest nations, with seven of those ten coming from Europe.

Switzerland was in tenth place, Belgium in eighth position, Norway just ahead of them, followed directly by Latvia, the Netherlands, and Denmark, with the latter in fourth place. Sweden was in second place overall with an average speed of 40.16Mbps, behind only Singapore on 55.13Mbps.

All of which makes the UK look a little creaky around the edges in terms of cutting-edge broadband.

Fresh perspective

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at, commented: "These results offer us a fresh perspective on where we sit in the broadband world. Relatively speaking, we are near the top of the table. However, many of those ahead of us – some a long way ahead – are our neighbours both in the EU and wider Europe.

"Superfast rollout in the UK continues apace. Goals are being met, new initiatives undertaken and public funds being made available. However, clearly there are lessons to be learned both from Europe and from those topping the table." further observed that some folks in more remote areas of the UK still have appallingly slow broadband, which is dragging the overall average down – something that a Which report from earlier this summer also underlined.

Another issue is a lack of FTTP connections – fibre run directly to the premises or home – which is only available to 2% of properties in the UK right now, whereas in Sweden that figure has crested above 40%.

In more positive news, we heard last week that BT is stepping up to the plate in terms of delivering a guaranteed minimum speed for broadband across the UK, but there are still those who argue that a guaranteed 10Mbps simply isn’t enough to make our infrastructure remotely future-proof.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).