A study on worldwide Internet connection speeds has placed the UK near the bottom, owing to a lack of government investment in fibre-based broadband.

As reported over on the BBC, the figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development put the UK 21st in the table of 30 countries ranked by average consumer Internet access speeds.

For a country which prides itself on its forward-thinking and technological innovation, it's an embarrassing showing: doubly so when you see the top ten, which includes Japan's impressive 1Gb/s, Finland's 110Mb/s, and the 100Mb/s offered by Finland, Sweden, Korea, Iceland, France, and Denmark. The UK is even pipped to the post by the the Netherland's 60Mb/s, and the 50Mb/s available to residents of the United States and Spain.

The recommendation of the OECD is that government investment in broadband technologies is sorely required - with benefits being felt in electricity, health, education, and transportation sectors should funds be allocated to broadband development. Indeed, the OECD's Taylor Reynolds believes that "if you cut 1 percent off the costs of education, electricity, health and transportation you would more than pay for a fibre network" and each sector would gain far more than it would lose.

With other countries - including top-ten list member Finland - making moves to ensure all its citizens have access to high-speed broadband, the UK government will have to do something to improve matters. With the UK 21st out of 30 in terms of raw speed - and a not much better 13th out of 30 in terms of overall penetration - the government's 50p per month 'broadband tax' on fixed telephone lines appears much less a ridiculous notion and more a necessity.

Do you hope that the government will listen to the OECD and plough money into the UK's telecoms infrastructure in order to boost broadband speeds, or are our current connections fast enough? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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