Thursday, November 17, 2016
One of the complaints made in the United Kingdom is that broadband is slowband or broadbad or some other pejorative term, or that it is faster in Bucharest or Ulan Bator or some other exotic location than in London.
Measuring the technical performance of networks is seldom straightforward. For example, much can depend on the Wi-Fi router in individual homes or on the antenna in a smartphone.
The Measurement Lab provided a data set for Google that allows individuals to select countries and time periods, which can be plotted in various ways. Using the download data set, the chart shows the UK with some Asian and Scandinavian rivals, with the result being a reasonably respectable performance. Australia is included because it launched its National Broadband Network (NBN) programme, though to no obvious effect.
Download speeds in Mbps
While download speed measures the ease of, say, binge-watching Game of Thrones, it is also necessary to consider those who create content and must upload it.
While data are available for fewer countries and a much shorter time period, there is still an overall picture of a group of leaders and another of followers.
Upload speeds in Mbps
The European Commission also provides annual data on a large number of indicators.
Amongst those of interest is the availability of NGA broadband in households. In this the UK has shown a substantial improvement.
The EU also provides data on household adoptions at different speeds. While the UK does well at 10 Mbps, its performance deteriorates significantly at 30 and, especially, at 100 Mbps.
Share of household subscriptions at advertised rates of more than 10 Mbps
Share of household subscriptions at advertised rates of more than 30 Mbps
Share of household subscriptions at advertised rates of more than 100 Mbps
Looking at businesses with high speed connections, the UK shows a somewhat poorer performance.
The analysis by sector provides some insight into that poorer performance.
There is some variation within the UK in terms of adoption, which OFCOM reports in terms of the four 'nations'.
Broadband take-up at home (Source: OFCOM Communication Markets Reports)