UK's broadband blackspots named

UK's broadband blackspots named

Summary: The price comparison site uSwitch.com has released an analysis of broadband speeds, which found several large towns get slow connections and one in 10 less than 3Mbps

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One in 10 British neighbourhoods gets broadband speeds below three megabits per second, despite the UK's push for super-fast connections, according to a survey by uSwitch.com.

Hereford Cathedral

The price comparison site uSwitch.com has released an analysis of UK broadband speeds, which found several large towns, including Hereford (pictured) get slow connections.

The survey, based on 1.68 million broadband speed tests conducted by business and residential broadband users, looked at broadband service by postcode. It found that the average UK broadband download speed is 6.7Mbps, and that the deployment of fibre by BT and Virgin is, for many people, "not causing so much a splash as a ripple".

"What's really surprising is the number of cities and towns such as Hereford and Carlisle that are suffering from slow broadband speeds, dispelling the view that it's just rural areas and small towns that have issues with their broadband," uSwitch.com telecoms chief Julia Stent said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the price comparison site, 34 percent of UK postcodes get less than 5Mbps and 23 percent are on connections slower than 4Mbps. One in 10 get speeds below 3Mbps.

The slowest postcode is TN36, Winchelsea in East Sussex. There, the average broadband speed is just 1.1Mbps. When it comes to larger towns and cities, Hereford (HR1) is bottom of the league at 3.2Mbps.

"Too many people do not appear to be enjoying super-fast speeds because faster services are not available in their area yet," Stent said, adding that the government's goal of getting 90 percent of the UK on speeds of 25Mbps or more by 2015 seemed a long way off.

The government has pledged funding of more than £500m to improve fixed-line broadband speeds in England, Scotland and Wales via its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, though this has had some glitches. In addition to aiming for 25Mbps for the majority of residents, it is aiming to deliver a minimum of 2Mbps to all.

The average broadband speed of 6.7Mbps that uSwitch.com has reported is significantly lower than the 7.6Mbps average that Ofcom revealed in November, although Ofcom's survey measured only residential speeds.

Ofcom's survey was much more comprehensive than uSwitch.com's effort, being based on 572 million performance tests. The uSwitch.com analysis also discounted any postcode where fewer than 100 speed tests were performed.

See next page for a list of the blackspots identified by uSwitch.com.

Topics: Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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4 comments
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  • Aiming for 2mbps for all is a joke, try aiming for a more realistic speed of at least 10mbps for all. In this modern day and age you can't use the internet for half the stuff you need, even at 3mbps (which is our current speed). For us anything like Smart TV, iPlayer, NetFlix, LoveFilm online is absolutely out because it would take us nearly a week just download the film to watch.

    Added to the fact that if your basing 2mbps as alright years ago you have to now take into account the fact that more and more people are adding more and more things onto their broadband connections using wireless router, and 2mbps might be alright if you just have 1 Smart TV connected or 1 PC connected, but many people have more than one device on their broadband connection which at times it can take the broadband speed to lower than the old 56k dial-up speed. For example most people now have about 2-3 computers on that one connection, and a couple of smart phones, some have a smart TV on there, a couple of games consoles, suddenly you have nearly 10-15 things all competing for that 2mbps space giving each device a download speed of only .2mbps which is useless for anything.
    anonymous
  • My connection does currently test at ~10mbps, although not so long ago (recently) it was much lower. However, this does not reflect my real world experience at all, which, as Darren Forster says, can drop to analogue 56K dial-up modem speeds or, indeed, slower. Presumably this is down to contention and an overloaded Internet infrastructure.

    I do wonder how many wasted resources go on the snooping? The greatest number of 3pes's recorded as blocked by Ghostery which I have experienced simultaneously is 14. Multiply that up by the number of number of web pages visited and it amounts to a staggering figure which must take up huge resources, slowing down the network. I notice, when opening a slow page, that the delay is often caused by .....google.com, amongst others, even though they are subsequently blocked. I have also noticed that the bright lights on my nice shiny new wireless modem continue to flash busily for at least 2 or 3 seconds after pages have fully loaded.
    The Former Moley
  • We live about 7 miles from Carlisle and our average speed should be 1.3mb however it is very intermitant and sometimes can be less than 0.1mb as tested through the speedtest.bt.com website. My busines is in Carlisle and remote working is a no go due to the poor broadband speeds where I live. I dont see it improving over the next 3 years as my exchange has not been identitified by BT for a firbre to cabinet upgrade.
    anonymous
  • What speed do you get with mobile dongle. I found it was fast enough to work remotely albeit for short bursts as was using PAYG and the download limit was a bit restricting
    andypiesse@...