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Broadband Study Reveals UK Lags Behind Other G7 Nations

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The G7 is an informal group of seven of the world’s most advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, alongside the United Kingdom and United States. The speed of consumer internet access is now regarded as a primary enabler of continued growth in these nations, so it is not surprising that analysts have been studying and comparing the average speeds available in each of the G7 nations for some time. 

In 2021, the European Union authorized the creation of a formal report into the state of internet access in the G7 nations as well as the wider EU area, and the results raised more than a few eyebrows amongst those working in government in the United Kingdom. The second EU report into the state of internet access throughout the G7 was released on September 6th, 2022, with the UK once again lagging behind its rivals in this exclusive club of industrialized nations.

Why Fast Internet Matters

The number of people using their connections for video streaming, online gaming, and working from home is increasing every year, and fast internet access is a pre-requisite for anybody wishing to participate in these activities. For all these pastimes to reach their full potential, every citizen of the G7 nations will need to have access to a fast internet connection at home.

Video streaming is not restricted to just those who want to watch Netflix – it is also an essential component of online medical consultations as well. Likewise, online gaming does not only encompass teenagers shooting each other in the latest Call of Duty game; there are also those who enjoy placing sports bets, spinning demo slots, or playing online poker with their friends as well. 

G7 Internet Access: The Results

The UK’s mean average download speed of 72.06Mbps puts the country in 19th place out of 28 nations surveyed during the creation of the report, significantly slower than many of the other G7 nations. Japan’s average speed of 122.33Mbps was the highest amongst the bloc, slightly ahead of France at 120.01Mbps, and the United States which had an average speed of 119.01Mbps. 

Whilst the numbers reported for the United States is almost certain to be accurate, critics have pointed out that the clustering of major cities on the nations Eastern and Western coasts does not give a true picture of the availability of fast broadband throughout the country as a whole. Indeed, many of the states in the rural mid-West of the US struggle to get any kind of fast broadband at all, with many households relying on low-speed DSL connections or paying premium prices to access SpaceX’s Starlink network.

The Future

The UK’s speed is an improvement on last years results, however, but the speed of development in the country does not appear to be keeping pace with the requirements of consumers. The countries with the highest average speeds are all much further along with their deployment of FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) internet connections than both the United States and United Kingdom. 

Fiber to the premises is almost certain to be the endgame as far as home internet connections are concerned, as fiber connections allow data to transferred at close to the speed of light. The only way to improve speeds further once these cables have been laid is to reduce the contention ratios – the number of people sharing a single fiber link – at the data centres upstream of people’s homes.

Can we expect to see further increases in average speeds around the world next year? If fiber optic rollouts continue at their current pace, there seems little reason to doubt this. There could be a problem, however; the worldwide inflation that is affecting all of us right now is also causing a rapid climb in the cost of fiber optic cabling. If the price of these materials continues to increase, we may see several G7 nations reducing the speed or scope of their next-generation network rollouts. networks.