Next year’s City of Culture has come bottom of a league table revealing average broadband speeds in 42 major UK cities and towns, according to price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com.
The data, which shows actual speeds rather than available top speeds – and therefore provides an indication of fibre broadband take up across the UK – reveals that residents in Hull recorded average download speeds of just 12.42Mbps for a six-month period between August 2015 and February 2016.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes are the UK’s second and third slowest cities for broadband, with speeds of 15.67Mbps and 17.10Mbps respectively.
While industry and government have made ‘superfast’ broadband available to 90% of the country, 20 of the towns and cities in the league table have average speeds slower than the 24Mbps superfast threshold. This suggests that barriers to the take up of fibre broadband, including awareness of availability as well as pricing, could be improved in urban areas.
Worryingly, the data also reveals that three in 10 tests logged actual speeds of less than 5Mbps. At the other end of the spectrum, just one in ten consumer tests recorded speeds of above 50Mbps.
Meanwhile, 22 towns and cities are enjoying superfast average speeds above 24Mbps, with Middlesbrough (34.46Mbps), Belfast (34.34Mbps) and Brighton (33.8Mbps) currently the UK’s fastest cities for surfing the web.
Two glaring omissions from the superfast 22 are London and Edinburgh. Both capital cities fall short of expectation with residents recording average speeds of 22.44Mbps and 21.07Mbps.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Hull’s broadband infrastructure is unique. It’s the only place in the UK that doesn’t have Openreach lines. Instead, independent telecoms supplier KCOM provides the broadband service. Although KCOM is currently rolling out ultrafast-capable, fibre-to-the-home connections in Hull, actual speed tests taken by broadband users would suggest this hasn’t reached enough homes yet to make an impact on the average.
“But it’s not just Hull in the slow lane. The UK’s cities should be leading the charge when it comes to broadband speeds, yet just 22 cities have broadband users with average speeds of more than 24Mbps. With capital cities like London and Edinburgh not on that list, we should be asking what more can be done to encourage the adoption of superfast broadband now it’s so widely available.”
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