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Oxford named in global broadband elite

Three other British cities join Oxford in the worldwide top 100 for downstream broadband speeds, according to research by Akamai

Oxford has been named as one of the top five cities in the world for fast broadband, in a report on research from Akamai.

Oxford residents benefit from average downstream speeds of 14.1Mbps, placing the city at number five in the global elite, close to cities from the US, South Korea and Japan. The city with the fastest broadband connection in the world is Berkeley, California, with an average connection speed of 18.3Mbps.

The research was carried out by content acceleration company Akamai, based on data from fixed broadband connections accessing its own network of servers.

Oxford has faster connections than all the world's capital cities, Akamai found. The world's fastest capital is Seoul, South Korea, with 11.4Mbps. London does not figure in the top 100.

Oxford's success in the speed charts appears to be due to both geographic and economic factors. The Oxford telephone exchange connects 18,400 premises within a small area, meaning few Oxford residents have a long local loop. Given that ADSL speeds decline with distance from the exchange, this has contributed to the faster speeds.

Oxford has also been helped by ISPs that are keen to roll out services to the city. BT has connected the exchange to its 21st Century Network, which carries higher backhaul speeds than its legacy network and access speeds of up to 24Mbps. No fewer than seven ISPs have placed their own equipment in the exchange, leading to competition on speed. Cable operator Virgin Media is also present in Oxford, offering up to 50Mbps connections.

Three other UK cities made Akamai's global top 100: Southampton (8.2Mbps), Bristol (8.1Mbps) and Cambridge (7.7Mbps).

However, as a nation, the UK performed poorly. Akamai said 21 percent of users across the world connecting to its servers had connections of faster than 5Mbps. This figure was just 17 percent for the UK. The average broadband speed for British users is just 3.7Mbps.

Akamai also disagreed with UK government assertions that just 11 percent of UK homes cannot receive a 2Mbps service. The company found the figure was 24 percent.