The best and worst broadband speeds in the world have been revealed

2 Jul 2019

Image: © James Thew/

Research compiled by Cable has determined the nations leading the world’s broadband speed race and the ones trailing behind.

The fastest and slowest broadband speeds in the world have been revealed by research compiled by Cable.

The findings relied on data gathered by M-Lab, an open source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions and private sector companies. The two organisations tracked broadband speed measurements in 207 countries and territories across multiple 12-month periods, allowing them to generate an overall average speed for the globe.

The global average broadband speed measured during a period from May 2017 to May 2018 was 9.1Mbps, which represents a 23pc increase from the speed gleaned when measurements were taken between 2016 and 2017. Measurements taken from 2018 and 2019 reveal that though the increase has slowed slightly, it is still considerable; this year’s average broadband speed came in at 11.03Mbps, representing an increase of more than 20pc.

Taiwan emerges victorious

Taiwan has emerged as the country with the fastest broadband speeds in the world, having shot up from the number 14 spot it held last year. Cable used the speed it would take to download a 5GB movie as a benchmark and found that in Taiwan, it’s as little as eight minutes. Its current mean download speed is 85Mbps, which is a significant jump from the 28Mbps average reported last year.

Much of the jump in speed, the white paper goes on to say, can be credited to mass migration from ADSL to fibre broadband.

Singapore previously held the top spot for two years running and, though beaten, still has a very good mean speed of more than 70Mbps, and its relatively small landmass presents it with a considerable advantage.

Singapore was followed in the rankings by Jersey, which is the first jurisdiction in the world to make pure fibre (FTTP) available to every single user and, having shot up from 10th place to third, it appears the uptake has been healthy.

Ireland’s fibre race

Ireland came in at 29th place in the global rankings, up seven places from last year, with a mean download speed of 23.87Mbps. Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, noted that part of the reason the Republic of Ireland outstrips the UK, which came 34th, is because of the move towards fibre.

“[The Republic of Ireland’s] heavy investment in FTTP has seen its average speeds rise far faster than the average this year, lifting it a highly respectable seven spots up the table. The UK, meanwhile, remains in the ‘experimental’ stage of FTTP provision, offering ultra-fast [speeds] in test locations for the most part while making noises about national roll-out in the coming years.

“As such, it has lifted only one spot, while – somewhat embarrassingly perhaps –remaining one place behind Madagascar, and in the bottom third of all EU nations.

“The obvious correlation is that countries and territories with a heavier reliance on – or ongoing investment in – pure fibre networks, or are upgrading to fibre or LTE from even more aged technologies, continue to see their averages rise. Those that are somewhat late to that particular party, however, have gone largely unchanged.”

International figures

Researchers remain concerned, however, that though the average speed globally has gone up, the gulf between the slowest and fastest nations has only widened.

“With average broadband speeds rising by 20.65pc in the last year, the global picture looks rosy. But the truth is, faster countries are the ones lifting the average, pulling away at speed and leaving the slowest to stagnate,” Howdle continues.

“Last year we measured the slowest five countries at 88 times slower than the five fastest. This year they are 125 times slower.

“Europe and parts of Asia are dominating the leader board once again thanks to largely excellent infrastructure. In all cases, those countries ranking highest are those with a strong focus on FTTP networks, with those countries dawdling too much on FTTC and ADSL solutions slipping further down year on year.”

You can download the report in full here.

Updated, 8.49am, 2 July 2019: This article was amended to include average broadband speeds measured between 2018 and 2019, and to clarify that Ireland’s mean download speed in 2019 was measured at 23.87Mbps, not 18Mbps.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic