Broadband speeds in the UK still lag behind other western European countries - but things have got better in the last year, a survey suggests.

Independent operators in East Anglia have welcomed the improvement in the UK's performance after it rose eight places globally in the Worldwide Broadband Speed League 2022 to reach 35th place.

But the UK has a long way to go with its average download speed of 72Mbps versus much faster ones in some other equivalent countries. It was also lower the the western European average.

France made 10th place in the league table with 120Mbps, the US was 11th with 118Mbps, Spain was 13th with 116Mbps and Romania was 15th with 112Mbps.

The five countries with the fastest internet in the world are Macau (262.74Mbps), Jersey (256.59Mbps), Iceland (216.56Mbps), Liechtenstein (166.22Mbps) and Gibraltar (159.90Mbps), according to the survey.

The five countries with the slowest network speeds are Turkmenistan (0.77Mbps), the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (0.94Mbps),Yemen (0.97Mbps), Guinea-Bissau (0.98Mbps) and Afghanistan (0.98Mbps).

Across western Europe - which dominates the top of the table - the 28 countries measured were in the top half, with seven in the top 10 in the world for internet speed. The regional average speed for western Europe stood at 99Mbps making it the fastest of the 13 global regions overall.

Lloyd Felton, chief executive of Colchester-based County Broadband, welcomed the lift in UK broadband speeds - and said this was partly due to "alt-nets" like his business.

The firm - which has its headquarters in Aldham - is funded by £146m in private investment and is building full-fibre networks for thousands of residents and businesses across harder-to-reach and rural parts of the East of England.

“It is pleasing to see the UK starting to climb the global broadband league table in this well-respected report after spending so long near the bottom when compared to our European neighbours in the fast lane," he said.

“One big reason why UK average download speeds have risen by over 20 Mbps in just a single year has been the significant year-on-year rise of independent network operators, or alternative networks (‘alt-nets’) such as County Broadband, who have increased provision not just by 20Mbps, but typically by 900Mbs and for the first time collectively as an industry passed the one million mark for UK live connections to full-fibre networks."

The total number of premises where connections have been physically built, ready for them to connect in the future, stood at 5.5 million in 2021/22 – more than double the previous year, he added.

“This landmark achievement is testament to the alt-net’s growing reputation for pushing boundaries, collaboration and innovation, while expanding consumer choice at the same time.

"Our industry’s expanding footprint also demonstrates ever-increasing strong demand for superior full-fibre infrastructure – whether that’s speed, symmetry or reliability – that old copper-based superfast broadband simply cannot provide.

Eastern Daily Press: Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, has welcomed the improvement in the UK's broadband speed performance, but says this is partly down to alt-net companies like hisLloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, has welcomed the improvement in the UK's broadband speed performance, but says this is partly down to alt-net companies like his (Image: Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738/County Broadband)

“At a time when we welcome the new government and its promise to ‘action this day’, we should also take stock of the fact that the UK should not have half the broadband speeds of Romania, France and so many other Western European nations.

"We stand ready to action this day, and every day, to extend our full-fibre network under plans to connect half a million premises to gigabit speeds across the East of England by 2027.”