Western Europe dominates in global broadband speed test

Eight of the top 10 fastest countries in the world for were based in Western Europe, while Ireland came 44th out of 220 countries.

Western Europe has the fastest average broadband speeds in the world, according to a new test conducted by a UK-based broadband comparison website.

The test analysed 1.3bn broadband speed tests across 220 countries. The data came from Measurement Lab, while the research was designed and compiled by Cable.co.uk.

Western Europe had eight of the top 10 fastest countries in the world for broadband, according to the report. The fastest speeds were detected in Jersey, a self-governing dependency of the UK.

Macau and Taiwan were the only two locations to make it into the top 10 fastest in the world outside of Western Europe.

In terms of average broadband speeds, Western Europe took the top spot with more than 118Mbps, followed by North America and the Baltics. Northern Africa had the lowest average broadband speeds.

Most of the countries with the highest broadband speeds were “small or island nations”. The UK price comparison company said it is “much easier” to roll out full fibre broadband and 5G mobile internet to a smaller population and across a smaller area.

The report put the Republic of Ireland 43rd in the rankings, with an average download speed of 76.16Mbps. This data came from more than 7.56m tests in Ireland. This is one position above the ranking Ireland achieved in a similar test conducted in 2021.

For context, the results suggest it takes an average of just under nine minutes to download a 5GB-sized movie in Ireland. For the top country – Jersey – this average time is reduced to two minutes and 35 seconds.

The data for these results came from tests conducted between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023. Cable.co.uk noted the potential of a “negativity bias” in speed tests, as people tend to test their broadband speed if there is something wrong or if they “aren't getting the speed they need”.

The company said tests that showed a clear fault or problem were filtered out to mitigate this negativity bias. But the UK company said the data should be viewed as a comparative league table “rather than an absolute measure of average network speed in any specific country”.

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