Many of us read the recent Ofcom report which delighted in telling us that the UK had the 'best broadband in Europe,' but there's more to it than simple numbers.
The UK telecoms watchdog's report gleefully stated that the UK was well on the way to "the best broadband network in Europe by 2015" -- despite failing to include the fact the UK was only compared to five other countries, rather than all 28 EU member states. Many of those excluded, including Scandinavia and Belgium, enjoy connections that leave the UK in the dust.
Yes, the UK has made progress in potential speeds, price and connections, but in comparison to actual user experiences -- whether it is the frustrating practice of cable connections pinched to set up new subscribers or the often-forgotten areas in the country -- broadband isn't always so hot.
A new survey conducted by uSwitch.com asked broadband users to run 1,896,977 consumer speed tests during the six-month period August 2013 -- January 2014. The company found that Britain's slowest streets for broadband offered average speeds of 0.60Mbps -- 96 times slower than the fastest street and 30 times slower than the UK average speed of 17.8Mbps.
The winners of this accolade were Wheatley Road in Essex and Erw Fawr in Wales. Out of the 50 slowest broadband streets in the country, Essex featured six times, more than any other county. We would be forgiven for thinking that it was only rural areas that suffered from poor speeds, but strangely, residents of one Hampstead street in NW London also appeared on the list.
The ten worst streets in Britain for broadband are below:
In comparison, the top ten best streets for broadband are here:
On average, uSwitch says that 40 percent of Britons experience average speeds of below 5Mbps; while just 15 percent are experiencing superfast speeds of 30Mbps or above. This suggests that while Ofcom figures say superfast broadband is available to 75 percent of the country, only nine percent of the UK are using it.
Marie-Louise Abretti, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said:
"Broadband is now widely considered the fourth utility, but our speed test data shows that not everyone is getting a decent service. Poor connectivity can severely affect local businesses, impact house prices and children’s education, which is why it’s crucial the government keeps its eye on the ball when it comes to improving UK broadband infrastructure, particularly in remote rural areas."