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December 6, 2010

OECD places UK 5th in broadband penetration

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by Darren Allan

The UK has been doing fairly poorly in many recent broadband rankings, although the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) latest study isn’t one of them.

In statistics for June 2010, across the 31 OECD member countries, there were 295 million fixed broadband connections in total. That’s up from 283 million in December of last year.

The UK came fifth with almost 19 million connections, around 70% of UK households being hooked up to broadband. We were only beaten by France, Germany, Japan and the US at the top of the table.

This is, of course, a measure of quantity and not quality, and the latter is where the UK falls down. The Telegraph reports that while Japan boasts an average headline (advertised) speed of 105Mbps, we only rank 14th with 19Mbps.

And of course, real world net speeds are much slower than that, particularly when it comes to ADSL, given line length and quality issues. Depending on which study you believe, the average UK net connection falls roughly between 4 and 5Mbps.

The OECD noted that while ADSL remains the dominant broadband connection overall, to the tune of 58%, fibre is growing rapidly in many countries. In Japan, for example, fibre now represents 55% of all broadband lines, and Korea isn’t far behind that on 52%.

Other leading fibre nations include the Slovak Republic on 28%, Sweden with 24% and Denmark on a figure of 12%.

Korea (95.0), Sweden (75.6), Japan (75.3) and Norway (72.8) also proved to have the highest wireless broadband penetration in terms of subscribers per 100 inhabitants.

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