Swindon still top dog for fat pipes

But Milton Keynes snapping at its heels...

But Milton Keynes snapping at its heels...

Swindon remains the UK's top broadband town but Milton Keynes is hot on its heels, having rocketed up to second place from 62nd last year.

Nearly two-thirds (65.3 per cent) of homes in Swindon had a broadband connection at the end of 2006, according to Point Topic research.

Milton Keynes followed with 63.7 per cent and Cardiff came in third with 62.4 per cent. The UK average is just under 46 per cent.

Top 10 local authorities for household broadband access

1. Swindon
2. Milton Keynes
3. Cardiff
4. Epsom and Ewell
5. Elmbridge
6. St Albans
7. Stevenage
8. Broxbourne
9. Watford
10. West Wiltshire

Milton Keynes has embraced wireless over the past few months. It will soon offer free wireless internet access throughout its city centre and has hosted a WiMax rollout with Pipex.

Connectivity in the Buckinghamshire town has been held back by its aluminium phone lines - instead of copper - and by an unusual geography that means previously its broadband was available at lower speeds compared with other parts of the UK, according to the bi-annual Point Topic survey of more than 5,000 UK consumers.

Cardiff looked like it was poised to steal Swindon's fat pipe crown six months ago, after coming second in the rankings and being chosen by BT for initial tests of its 21CN network.

Swindon has been the top town for broadband since December 2005, when 51.1 per cent of its households had fat pipes.