Image Ireland climbs 7 places in global broadband speed ranking
Image Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

Average broadband speeds in Ireland are getting faster - but we still lag behind most of our closest European neighbours.

A new study today from Cable.co.uk has revealed that Ireland’s broadband speeds are improving, however we continue to lag behind many other developed countries. 

With an average download speed of just over 51Mbps, up from 35Mbps last year, Ireland ranks 44th out of 224 countries and territories worldwide, a jump from 51st place last year.  

However out of the 48 countries and territories tested in Europe, Ireland comes a somewhat poor 31st. 

The study analysed data from over 1.1billion broadband speed tests worldwide and was collected over the 12 months up to 30th June of this year by Cable.co.uk, and the data gathered by M-Lab, an open source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private sector companies.

The results in detail

Europe dominates the global speed table once again this year: 34 of the top 50 fastest countries are located in the region. And smaller countries have definitely fared best.

The self-governing dependency of Jersey offers the fastest broadband in Europe (and the world) with an average speed of 274.27Mbps.

The tiny principality of Liechtenstein comes next with an average speed of 211.26Mbps, followed by Iceland on 191.83Mpbs. Andorra is next with average speeds of 164.66Mbps.

It will be immediately striking to most that all of these countries share similarities. All four are within Western Europe, are wealthy, and all are either very small or island nations. It is much easier to roll out pure fibre broadband and 5G mobile broadband to a smaller population and/or across a smaller area after all.

Mind you, Ireland fits most of this this criteria too and we're not doing nearly as well...

The five countries in the world with the slowest network speeds are Turkmenistan (0.50Mbps), Yemen (0.68Mbps), Ethiopia (1.20), Guinea-Bissau (1.24Mbps), and Equatorial Guinea (1.30Mbps).

Downloading an HD movie of 5GB in size would take 2m 29s at the average speed experienced in table-topper Jersey, while it would take 22h 34m in last-placed Turkmenistan. In Ireland, at average speeds, the movie would take just over 13 minutes to download - around 7 minutes quicker than last year! 

Last year, the five fastest countries had download speeds around 276 times faster than the five slowest. That gap is narrowing for the first time since the study began in 2017. This year the top five are 202 times faster than the five slowest. This indicates that the fastest countries are slowing in terms of speed growth, while the slowest countries are gathering speed.

As mentioned, 34 of the top 50 fastest countries for broadband are in Europe, with seven in Asia, three in the Caribbean region, four in Northern America, and just one in Sub-Saharan Africa. By contrast, 31 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa.

94 countries failed to achieve average speeds of 10Mbps or greater, the speed deemed by UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business. This is down from 109 countries in 2020, indicating significant speed improvements in many parts of the world.

Position Country Average speed Mbps
1 Jersey 274.27
2 Liechtenstein 211.26
3 Iceland 191.83
4 Andorra 164.66
5 Gibraltar 151.34
6 Monaco 144.29
7 Macau 128.56
8 Luxembourg 107.94
9 Netherlands 107.30
10 Hungary 104.07
14 USA 92.42
20 New Zealand 85.95
43 UK 51.48
44 Ireland 51.41
55 Australia 40.50
61 Italy 36.69
74 Greece 29.76
224 Turkmenistan 0.50

The good and the bad

Although average speeds in Ireland have improved significantly this year according to the study, many of our major competitors for jobs and investment such as the Netherlands, the US, and Sweden rank well ahead of us.

Also, these are average speeds. While some homes and businesses will meet and even far surpass these speeds, many homes in rural areas in particular are stuck without any form of high-speed broadband whatsoever.   

However, the National Broadband Plan, which promises to equip over half a million homes and businesses in rural Ireland with high-speed, pure fibre broadband, has finally got going, with the first few thousand premises having already been connected.  

Meanwhile SIRO, a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone to bring pure fibre broadband with speeds of up to 1,000Mbps to regional towns across the country, has now passed almost 500,000 households.  

And if you're lucky enough to live in an urban area of Ireland you shouldn't have too many issues finding a broadband provider to cover your needs in terms of speed and coverage. All of the major providers offer speeds of up to 100Mbps and some even go above and beyond. For instance Virgin Media offers speeds of up to 250Mbps as standard, with its top-level package now offering a whopping 1,000Mbps.  

With all this going on, it will be interesting to see how Ireland fares in the rankings over the coming years.

Commenting on the results, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said:

"This year, the dominance of smaller states, principalities and self-governing dependencies perpetuates. The obvious reality is that the smaller, and broadly speaking the wealthier the landmass, the easier and more likely it is to be among the first to switch its network to FTTP full-fibre.

"Europe absolutely dominates the leaderboard once again thanks to largely excellent infrastructure. In all cases, those countries ranking highest are those with a strong focus on pure fibre (FTTP) networks, with those countries dawdling too much on FTTC and ADSL solutions slipping further down year-on-year."

Not happy with your broadband speed?

How does your broadband speed measure up in comparison? Why not perform a speed test and see what kind of speeds you're actually getting?

And if you’re not satisfied, it might be time to shop around for a new provider. You can compare and switch providers quickly and easily right here on bonkers.ie.  

But before you switch, here are seven things to consider before you choose your next provider.