UK broadband is 'too slow and expensive'

UK broadband internet is more expensive than it is in all but one of 20 of the world's most developed countries.


UK broadband internet is more expensive than it is in all but one of 20 of the world's most developed countries.

The 20 nations were ranked in a report by the the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) an international organisation helping governments tackle the economic, social and governance challenges of a globalised economy.

The report found that in addition to paying more than most, UK householders struggle to achieve more than 8Mbps (megabits per second) because they are stuck with an old copper-wire telecoms system.

By comparison, Japanese residents can enjoy broadband speeds of 100Mbps and pay only 11p for each megabit. In the UK the equivalent, cheapest deal works out at £1.81. In the US, the cheapest megabit per second broadband connection is £1.59.

According to the OECD report, the average monthly cost of broadband in the UK is £14.50 - less expensive than only Slovakia of the top 20 nations, where customers pay around £15 a month.

In Sweden - where the cost of living is generally considered to be much higher - broadband internet subscribers pay only around £5 for an entry-level, always-on broadband internet connection.

And broadband users in the world's most developed countries are getting greatly differing speeds and prices, according to the OECD report. Countries such as Japan that have dispensed with copper wiring and switched to fibre networks have the best speeds at the lowest prices.

Subscribers to Japan's fibre networks can upload at the same speed they can download, too, which isn't possible with the UK's creaking ADSL (broadband over a telephone line) system, nor with most cable subscriptions.

In April, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) warned the government's telcoms watchdog Ofcom and the government that they must quickly map out a path for next generation broadband or see UK competitiveness fall away as a result.

The BSG warned that the UK's current and planned broadband infrastructure won't meet the needs of intensive users in the future.

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