UK falling 13 places in global broadband rankings ‘exposes poor infrastructure’

The UK has fallen 13 places in global speed rankings and is now among the slowest in Europe for broadband

Hyperfast broadband provider County Broadband has reacted to news that the UK has fallen 13 places in global speed rankings and is now among the slowest in Europe by pledging to step up action to build new full-fibre networks across the region.

New research by shows Britain has slipped to 47th place, down from 34th last year, suggesting it would typically take twice as long to download a film in the UK than the average for western Europe.

Liechtenstein tops the table with average download speeds of 229.98 Mbps with the US in 20th on 71.30 Mbps and South Sudan bottom with 0.58 Mbps.

Britain’s average speeds of 37.82 Mbps is due to only 12% of the country having access to full-fibre infrastructure – meaning 88% of residents and businesses rely on Victorian ‘superfast’ copper-based infrastructure.

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Prime minister Boris Johnson is relying on local providers like County Broadband, funded by a multi-million pound private investment to build new Hyperfast networks, to achieve his flagship target of 100% gigabit-speed (1000 Mbps) connectivity by 2025.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, which is building new full-fibre networks in Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, said: “We’re disappointed but not surprised to see once again another report showing that the UK is languishing near the bottom of a global broadband league.

“The Covid-19 lockdown exposed just how poor and unfit the UK’s current copper-based digital infrastructure is – from Zoom meeting drop-outs to Netflix binge bufferings. We urgently need to catch up with the rest of the world by building new Hyperfast networks.

“We were thrilled to connect the first set of thousands of residents and businesses to our growing network during lockdown in Essex, with engineers being granted key worker status.

“We are continuing to hold virtual public meetings and progress our rollout plans to turbo-charge broadband for thousands more in desperate need.”

It comes after a new survey* by County Broadband found nine in 10 residents relied on broadband to work from home while 68% spent more than four hours a day online.

The report said: “Last year, we predicted that with the UK only just beginning to roll out FTTP (fibre to the premises), and with a number of other European countries already a long way ahead of the UK in this regard, it would likely slip down the table… and that is exactly what has happened.”

County Broadband aims to provide Hyperfast full-fibre connection access to around 20,000 premises across the East of England by Christmas 2020.

Residents and businesses can find out if they’re in a village covered in the rollout by using our postcode checker here.


*Survey of 1,000 adults living in urban areas in England and 1,000 adults living in rural areas in England conducted by Opinium on behalf of County Broadband in May 2020

For more information please contact:

Tim Miller: 07927 515604 /

Matt Stott: 07825 908360 /

Cheriton Alexander: 01376 562002 | Ext 404 /

Notes to Editors

  1. County Broadband is a specialist rural broadband provider based in East Anglia.
  2. In 2018, County Broadband received £46 million funding from Aviva Investors to offer fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) hyperfast broadband to select villages across the East of England.
  3. FTTP is the installation of fibre optic cables directly into premises and offers speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gigabit). This is significantly faster than the more commonly used fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology in which fibre cables are sent to local street-side cabinets and then distributed through existing old copper cabling to each premise.
  4. For more information, visit or follow @CountyBroadband on Twitter

Broadband speed definitions. defines the following services:

  • High Speed = broadband up to 24Mbps
  • Superfast = Broadband Up to 80Mbps
  • Ultrafast = speeds of 100Mbps or more
  • Hyperfast = speeds of 500Mbps or more

Referenced here: