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Broadband, Phone & TV

Ireland drops 22 places in global broadband speed test

Ireland drops 22 places in global broadband speed test
Daragh Cassidy

Daragh Cassidy

Head Writer

New research reveals that Ireland continues to lag behind the rest of Europe in terms of broadband speeds.

A new study today from has revealed that Ireland’s broadband speeds, although improving, continue to lag behind many other developed countries. 

With an average download speed of just under 35Mbps, up from 23.87Mbps last year, Ireland ranks 51st out of 221 countries and territories worldwide, a drop from 29th place last year.  

Only a handful of European countries, including Italy, Croatia, and Greece, fare worse than Ireland.

The study analysed data from over 557 million individual broadband speed tests worldwide and was collected over the 12 months up to May of this year by M-Lab, an open source project with contributors from civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private sector companies.

The results in detail

Western Europe dominates the global speed table, with eight of the top 10 fastest countries in the world for broadband coming from the region.

Smaller countries have definitely fared best. The tiny principality of Liechtenstein offers the fastest broadband in Europe (and the world) with an average speed of 229.98Mbps, followed by the island of Jersey with speeds of almost 219Mbps and then the tiny enclave of Andorra with speeds of over 213Mbps.

Hong Kong (105.32Mbps) and Hungary (99.74Mbps) are the only two states outside of Western Europe to make it into the top 10 fastest in the world. 

Countries in Northern Africa collectively had the lowest average speed in the world (3.80Mbps), while Western European nations collectively had the highest average speed regionally (81.19Mbps).

Downloading a HD movie of 5GB in size would take 2m 58s at the average speed experienced in table-topper Liechtenstein, while it would take 19h 31m in last-placed South Sudan. In Ireland, at average speeds, the movie would take just under 20 minutes to download. 

Last year, the five fastest countries had download speeds around 125 times faster than the five slowest. That gap is widening. This year the top five are 276 times faster than the five slowest.

Thirty two of the top 50 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe, with six in Asia, seven in the Caribbean region, three in Northern America, and one each in Oceania and Central America. By contrast, 32 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa.

109 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.

Position Country/Territory Speed Mbps
1 Liechtenstein 229.98
2 Jersey 218.37
3 Andorra 213.41
4 Gibraltar 183.09
5 Luxembourg 118.05
6 Iceland 116.88
7 Switzerland 110.45
8 Hong Kong 105.32
9 Monaco 104.98
10 Hungary 99.74
20 United States 71.30
23 New Zealand 66.66
47 UK 37.82
51 Ireland  34.84
221 South Sudan 00.58

The bad news

Although average speeds in Ireland have improved this year according to the study, the drop of 22 places is concerning given most of our major competitors for jobs and investment such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, the US, the UK and Sweden rank well ahead of us

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

What's more, the much maligned National Broadband Plan, which promises to equip over half a million rural homes and businesses with high-speed fibre broadband has been beset with problems and delays since its inception, much to the frustration and consternation of thousands of residents across the country.  

The plan was finally approved by Cabinet last year with work due to commence very soon so it will be interesting to see how this affects Ireland's ranking in the years ahead.  

The good news

It’s not all doom and gloom! 

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.  

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.  

Commenting on the results, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at, said:

"Countries and territories with a heavier reliance on or ongoing investment in pure fibre (fibre-to-the-home) networks, continue to see their averages rise. Those that are somewhat late to that particular party, however, the UK [and Ireland] being a case in point when it comes to pure fibre networks, have slipped back as others have risen faster.

"As shown by the domination of smaller countries and regions at the top of the table – Liechtenstein, Jersey, Andorra, Gibraltar – it is obviously far easier to upgrade a country or territory to full fibre the smaller it happens to be."

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 are 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  

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