The UK is lagging behind other countries at providing high speed broadband and fares only marginally better when it comes to national broadband penetration, according to research
The UK ranks 21st out of 30 countries surveyed by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, falling behind the likes of Greece and Spain.
Japan, Finland and Sweden make up the top three countries with the widest provision of high-speed broadband and Belgium, Turkey and Mexico make up the bottom three.
The OECD’s figures also show that the UK comes 13th out of 30 countries when it comes to broadband penetration, again falling behind the likes of Finland, Denmark and Sweden, but beating the US, Greece and France.
The OECD has said that the total broadband subscriber numbers in the areas it covers have swelled to 271 million as of June 2009, which is a 10 per cent increase on the year, but there is still a major need for governments to keep investing in new technologies. The report says fibre optic networks are likely to be the technology that generates the most future growth in broadband uptake, as opposed to cable networks.
The report urged for continual investment, saying: “This upgrade [to fibre optic networks] is important because high-speed broadband networks are increasingly seen as a fundamental infrastructure for the economy, like roads, water and electricity. Telecommunication firms have been investing heavily to upgrade older copper and coax networks to fibre to accommodate our ever increasing thirst for bandwidth.
“The economic crisis has threatened to halt this investment just as consumers and businesses are using more internet bandwidth. Many governments have stepped in to fill the gap using stimulus funds to pay for new broadband networks. But there is still a lot of debate about whether these investments make economic sense, particularly as governments are wading into an area which has recently been entrusted to the private sector.”
The Digital Britain report aims to generate more money to fund the increased roll-out of faster broadband with a monthly 50 pence tax on fixed landlines