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Not a single UK city is ‘super-fast’ for broadband yet

  • Fastest urban area for broadband speeds, Telford, averages 23Mbps – still short of the Government’s 24Mbps super-fast target

  • More than a quarter (27%) of British broadband users have speeds under 3Mbps

  • Hull makes the least progress, with speeds increasing by little more than a quarter (26%) in the past year, plus it has the slowest urban speeds in the UK (10.5Mbps)

  • Norwich’s speeds increase by three quarters (75%) in just a year, but it’s still one of the slowest UK cities for broadband, averaging 11.6Mbps

  • Belfast is the only capital city with speeds of more than 20Mbps, outpacing London, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

New speed test data from independent price comparison and switching service, Uswitch.com, reveals not a single UK town or city is super-fast yet when it comes to broadband. The fastest urban area for broadband is Telford in Shropshire, but even here, average download speeds of 23Mbps still fall short of the super-fast minimum speed of 24Mbps.

The speed test data – collected from broadband users in the 50 biggest UK cities and towns – shows that Belfast is the only capital city with average speeds above 20Mbps. Even London, the financial capital of the world, is trailing behind what the Government classes as super-fast, with average download speeds of 17Mbps. Shockingly, almost a fifth of broadband users in London (19%) are getting speeds of less than 3Mbps. It would take almost six  hours to download a BluRay film at this speed.

And although the average download speed across the whole of Britain has risen in recent years to 14.5Mbps, more than a quarter (27%) of postcodes suffer from sluggish speeds averaging less than 3Mbps.

In urban areas, Hull has made the least progress. In the past year, speeds there have increased by just 26% to 10.5Mbps. In contrast, Leeds has seen speeds rocket by 87% since 2012. Further south, Norwich is also making fast progress, with speeds up 75% in just a year. However, it’s still one of the slowest UK cities for broadband, averaging 11.6Mbps. And its residents are still most likely to be struggling – over a third (35%) have not seen their average speeds break 3Mbps in the last 12 months, and neither have broadband users in Huddersfield and York.

The following table shows the average download speeds for the 50 biggest UK towns and cities and the percentage change in speeds over the past year:

| Rank | UK Town/City | Average Download Speed 2013 (Mbps) | Average Download Speed 2012 (Mbps) |

% change 2012 vs 2013

|

% less than 3Mbps 2013

|

1

|

Telford

|

22.99

|

14.02

|

64%

|

19%

| |

2

|

Belfast

|

20.82

|

13.47

|

55%

|

15%

| |

3

|

Portsmouth

|

20.46

|

13.43

|

52%

|

15%

| |

4

|

West Bromwich

|

19.18

|

11.09

|

73%

|

15%

| |

5

|

Swindon

|

19.17

|

11.96

|

60%

|

22%

| |

6

|

Birmingham

|

19.15

|

11.49

|

67%

|

19%

| |

7

|

Luton

|

18.83

|

12.79

|

47%

|

27%

| |

8

|

Middlesbrough

|

18.71

|

12.95

|

44%

|

22%

| |

9

|

Reading

|

18.60

|

11.62

|

60%

|

21%

| |

10

|

Leeds

|

18.50

|

9.88

|

87%

|

21%

| |

11

|

Poole

|

18.40

|

11.32

|

62%

|

19%

| |

12

|

Bournemouth

|

18.37

|

11.07

|

66%

|

19%

| |

13

|

Manchester

|

18.36

|

12.74

|

44%

|

20%

| |

14

|

Nottingham

|

18.35

|

11.32

|

62%

|

19%

| |

15

|

Bolton

|

18.32

|

12.57

|

46%

|

20%

| |

16

|

Dundee

|

18.27

|

10.94

|

67%

|

19%

| |

17

|

Southend-on-Sea

|

18.16

|

13.60

|

33%

|

13%

| |

18

|

Derby

|

18.06

|

12.69

|

42%

|

25%

| |

19

|

Edinburgh

|

17.88

|

11.51

|

55%

|

16%

| |

20

|

Stockport

|

17.86

|

13.64

|

31%

|

21%

| |

21

|

Plymouth

|

17.63

|

11.96

|

47%

|

19%

| |

22

|

Liverpool

|

17.43

|

10.77

|

62%

|

20%

| |

23

|

Oxford

|

17.40

|

12.04

|

45%

|

24%

| |

24

|

Bristol

|

17.20

|

10.56

|

63%

|

21%

| |

25

|

Southampton

|

17.06

|

11.38

|

50%

|

21%

| |

26

|

London

|

16.97

|

12.08

|

40%

|

19%

| |

27

|

Cardiff

|

16.90

|

13.12

|

29%

|

25%

| |

28

|

Milton Keynes

|

16.68

|

12.71

|

31%

|

31%

| |

29

|

Wolverhampton

|

16.27

|

12.49

|

30%

|

22%

| |

30

|

Sunderland

|

16.27

|

9.91

|

64%

|

25%

| |

31

|

Bradford

|

16.21

|

10.77

|

51%

|

20%

| |

32

|

Dudley

|

16.20

|

11.74

|

38%

|

23%

| |

33

|

Leicester

|

16.11

|

10.96

|

47%

|

28%

| |

34

|

Walsall

|

15.99

|

12.18

|

31%

|

20%

| |

35

|

Peterborough

|

15.96

|

10.45

|

53%

|

26%

| |

36

|

Newcastle

|

15.96

|

11.16

|

43%

|

23%

| |

37

|

Coventry

|

15.93

|

8.97

|

78%

|

22%

| |

38

|

Northampton

|

15.32

|

11.14

|

38%

|

26%

| |

39

|

Glasgow

|

15.12

|

10.70

|

41%

|

26%

| |

40

|

Swansea

|

15.01

|

10.67

|

41%

|

25%

| |

41

|

Huddersfield

|

14.76

|

9.08

|

63%

|

35%

| |

42

|

Stoke-on-Trent

|

14.34

|

8.62

|

66%

|

28%

| |

43

|

Preston

|

14.11

|

10.03

|

41%

|

26%

| |

44

|

Ipswich

|

13.49

|

10.23

|

32%

|

27%

| |

45

|

Sheffield

|

13.46

|

10.27

|

31%

|

27%

| |

46

|

Aberdeen

|

12.91

|

7.96

|

62%

|

24%

| |

47

|

Blackpool

|

12.56

|

8.86

|

42%

|

22%

| |

48

|

Norwich

|

11.60

|

6.62

|

75%

|

35%

| |

49

|

York

|

11.57

|

8.13

|

42%

|

35%

| |

50

|

Hull

|

10.49

|

8.32

|

26%

|

26%

| | |

Whole of UK

|

14.5

|

10.1

|

43%

|

27%

|

Source: Uswitch.com

For the many still stuck in the broadband slow lane, Ofcom’s recent research – which revealed that superfast broadband is now available to almost two thirds of the country (65%) – will be welcome news. However, too many consumers remain in the dark when it comes to upgrading to fibre – only a quarter of consumers (25%) know they can get it. And price still remains a barrier with almost half (48%) of those who don’t have it, saying it’s too expensive.

Marie-Louise Abretti, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, says: “Urban speeds in the UK are around three times faster than rural speeds, but even download speeds in Britain’s 50 biggest cities still aren’t super-fast.

“The Government’s blinkered focus on bringing super-fast connections to 95% of Britain by 2017 is all very well but, if they pull it off, it’s only half the battle won. If people don’t actually use super-fast broadband because it’s too expensive, or they don’t know they can get it, then what’s the point? Uptake will be heavily dependent on both price and awareness.

“If you suffer from sluggish broadband, it may be worth checking if you can get superfast fibre. It might not be as expensive to get or as tricky to switch too as you may have feared.

“However, if you don’t want it or are amongst the third of Brits who can’t get it yet, there are some quick fixes which may help speed up your connection. Where your router is located can make a difference, so keep it off the floor and away from TV monitors, stereo speakers and halogen lights, or try boosting your speed by plugging in instead of surfing wirelessly.”

Test your broadband speed at http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest/

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Katherine Moss

Phone: 020 3021 5893

Email: katherine.moss@uswitch.com

Twitter: @uswitchPR

Notes to editors

  1. The data is based on 1.4million consumer tests collected online via Uswitch’s broadband speed testing tool, StreetStats. The six months between April - September inclusive were compared for 2013 and 2012.

  2. http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/guides/broadband_download_times/

  3. According to Ofcom’s urban and rural speed comparisons May 2013, the average urban speed was 26.4Mbps and the average rural speed was 9.9Mbps: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2013/08/07/average-uk-broadband-speed-continues-to-rise/

  4. From research carried out online by Uswitch.com between 4th and 17th January 2013 among 2,100 respondents. Of those who can get superfast broadband at home but don’t have it, when asked “For what reasons’s do you not have it?” 47.8% said ‘It’s too expensive’.

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