Press release:

UK’s worst street for broadband revealed, and it’s 135 times slower than the fastest street

  • The slowest street for broadband is named as Williamson Road in Romney Marsh, Kent, while Sandy Lane in Cannock, Staffordshire is the fastest[1]
  • Williamson Road has a dire average speed of 0.54Mbps – 135 times slower than Sandy Lane’s superfast 72.86Mbps and 42 times slower than the UK average speed (22.8Mbps)[2]
  • A third (34%) of the UK still struggles with sub 5Mbps speeds, while an unlucky 23% make do with speeds of less than 3Mbps[3]
  • North-South divide: the North of England offers twice as many speedy streets as the South, according to uSwitch’s top 30 fastest streets[1]
  • Postcode lottery: three of the UK’s fastest streets are in Staffordshire – also home to two of the slowest streets[1].

With an average download speed of 0.54Mbps, Williamson Road in Romney Marsh, Kent, has the slowest broadband in the UK, according to the latest consumer speed test data collected by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.

Williamson Road’s crippling average speed is a staggering 135 times slower than the UK’s fastest street, Sandy Lane in Cannock, Staffordshire, where average speeds reached 72.86Mbps over the past six months – and 42 times slower than the UK average speed for the same period (22.8Mbps)[2].

On Williamson Road it would take 19 hours to download a two-hour HD film, 2.5 hours to download a 45-minute HD TV show and 49 minutes to download a 20-song music album[4]. By contrast, on Sandy Lane, it would take eight minutes to download a two-hour HD film, one minute to download a 45-minute HD TV show, and 22 seconds to download a 20-song music album[4].

According to the research, which is based on more than one million speed tests run by broadband users over six months, a third (34%) of the UK still struggles with sub 5Mbps speeds, while an unlucky 23% make do with sluggish speeds of less than 3Mbps[3].

That said, the number of people enjoying superfast speeds is growing. More than a fifth (22%) of broadband users are now getting average speeds of 30+Mbps[3] – up from 15% a year ago[5]. However, despite fibre broadband now being available to 78% of the population[6], a recent uSwitch survey revealed that awareness of fibre broadband is still very low – less than a third (31%) believe they can access it in their local area[7].

uSwitch’s speed test data reveals a distinct North-South divide, with the South lagging behind in the race for faster broadband. Based on the 30 fastest streets, the North of England offers twice as many speedy streets as its southern counterpart. In addition, Scotland is home to six of the UK’s fastest streets, and just two of the slowest.[1]

Broadband speeds are still a postcode lottery, even within the same county. Cannock in Staffordshire is home to two of the UK’s fastest streets for broadband, as is Stoke-on-Trent, but Stoke is also home to one of the slowest streets, along with Burton-on-Trent. The average download speed on Cheadle Road in Alton, Stoke-on-Trent is 54 times slower than Werrington Road in Bucknall, which is in the same county[1].

Meanwhile, Kent is home to the slowest streets in the UK, and also one of the fastest streets. Williamson Road in Romney Marsh is 106 times slower than Becket Mews in Canterbury[8]. Norfolk doesn’t fare well as its streets appear four times in the slowest broadband list – more than any other county. The slowest Norfolk street, Shorthorn Road in Stratton Strawless is just 25 minutes drive from the centre of Norwich and yet average speeds are a dismal 0.96Mbps[1].

Surprisingly, London doesn’t get away unscathed. Although the capital has three streets that are among the fastest in the UK, Uxbridge Road in Feltham is a broadband blackspot, where average speeds for the past six months are just 1.03Mbps[1].

The table below shows the 30 slowest streets for broadband in the UK:

Rank Street name & location Average download speed (Mbps)
1 Williamson Road, Lydd-on-Sea, Romney Marsh, Kent 0.535
2 Great Fen Road, Soham, Ely, Cambridgeshire 0.547
3 Styles Close, Luton, Bedfordshire 0.800
4 Mardu Lane, Clun, Craven Arms, Shropshire 0.884
5 Weston Beggard Lane, Weston Beggard, Hereford, Herefordshire 0.914
6 Cheadle Road, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire 0.916
7 Mill Lane, Horndon on the Hill, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex 0.928
8 Llansadwrn, Menai Bridge, Isle of Anglesey 0.948
9 Solway Road, Moresby Parks, Whitehaven, Cumbria 0.963
10 Shorthorn Road, Stratton Strawless, Norwich, Norfolk 0.964
11 Foxbury Road, St Leonards, Ringwood, Dorset 0.976
12 Corrie Road, Kinlochleven, Highland, Scotland 0.985
13 The Crescent, Allington, Allington Gardens, Grantham, Lincolnshire 1.01
14 The Line, Linton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire 1.025
15 Uxbridge Road, Feltham, Greater London 1.030
16 North Lopham Road, Kenninghall, Norfolk 1.037
17 Coningsby Gardens East, Woodthorpe, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire 1.039
18 Kingfisher Drive, Birmingham, West Midlands 1.105
19 Sovereign Fold Road, Leigh, Wigan, Greater Manchester 1.116
20 McKinnon Drive, Mayfield, Dalkeith, Midlothian 1.122
21 Brampton Road, Hereford, Herefordshire 1.153
22 Marlingford Road, Easton, Norwich, Norfolk 1.174
23 Tarr Steps, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham 1.226
24 Thornham Lane, Middleton, Manchester 1.236
25 Axial Drive, Colchester, Essex 1.244
26 Balmoral Drive, Willenhall, West Midlands 1.249
27 Grange Terrace, Pelton Fell, Chester le Street, County Durham 1.258
28 Bitham Lane, Stretton, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire 1.267
29 Stubb Road, Hickling, Norwich, Norfolk 1.314
30 Manor Close, Denton, Manchester 1.320

Source: uSwitch.com Broadband Speed Tracker

The table below shows the 30 fastest streets for broadband in the UK:

Rank Street name & location Average download speed (Mbps)
1 Sandy Lane, Hatherton, Cannock, Staffordshire 72.86
2 Stockfield Road, Yardley, Birmingham, West Midlands 71.37
3 Aigburth Drive, Liverpool, Merseyside 71.20
4 Southhouse Broadway, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh 68.53
5 Winchcombe Close, Swindon, Wiltshire 68.41
6 Alexandra Court, East Lindsey, Skegness, Lincolnshire 68.19
7 The Close, Conway Avenue, Thornton-Cleveleys, Blackpool 65.29
8 University Terrace, Pittenweem, Anstruther, Fife 64.62
9 Bulwer Gardens, Barnet, Greater London 64.56
10 New Church Road, Hove, The City of Brighton & Hove 61.03
11 Rowantree Crescent, Dundee, Dundee City 60.91
12 Barnacre Road, Longridge, Preston, Lancashire 60.78
13 Byron Road, South Croydon, Greater London 60.23
14 King Street, Market Rason, Lincolnshire 59.45
15 Carmarthen Way, Rushden, Northamptonshire 58.27
16 Birkrig, Skelmersdale, Lancashire 58.11
17 Becket Mews, Canterbury, Kent 57.33
18 Friars Street, Hereford, Herefordshire 57.16
19 Luss Avenue, Greenock, Inverclyde 56.12
20 Castle Lea, Caldicot, Monmouthshire 53.11
21 St John’s View, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire 52.93
22 Caiesdykes Road, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City 52.75
23 Tuesley Lane, Godalming, Surrey 52.60
24 Longacres, Cannock, Staffordshire 52.38
25 Harcourt Road, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City 49.69
26 Monza Close, Buckley, Flintshire 49.49
27 Werrington Road, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire 49.01
28 Dalrymple Road, Brockley, Greater London 48.96
29 Brinkworth Close, Chippenham, Wiltshire 48.88
30 Highwood Drive, Nailsworth, Stroud, Gloucestershire 48.74

Source: uSwitch.com Broadband Speed Tracker

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “On the UK’s slowest street broadband speeds are so sluggish you could fly to the Bahamas and back again in the time it takes to download a film[9].

“Likely causes include the user’s distance from the nearest exchange or issues within the properties themselves. Wireless connections can be affected by the thickness of walls, for example, but your broadband provider can usually offer a solution if that’s the case.

“Superfast broadband is now available to more than three quarters of the UK, but nearly a third (31%) don’t realise they can get it. We looked at which of the 30 slowest streets had superfast availability and, interestingly, 37% of them do, but residents have obviously chosen not to take up superfast services[11].

“More needs to be done to increase awareness of fibre availability and its benefits. Superfast broadband isn’t as expensive as some users might think, with prices averaging an extra £9 a month on top of standard broadband costs[12].

“A recent House of Lords report called for broadband to be defined as a public utility and voiced concerns about the delivery of superfast services[10]. Terrible speeds can isolate people and take their toll on businesses, schools, even house prices. A nationwide rollout of fibre broadband to the furthest and most remote corners of the UK has never been more urgent.”

Anyone frustrated with their broadband service can test their speeds and compare their results to other local users with different providers here: www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest

uSwitch_Britians_Fastest_And_Slowest_Streets_For_Broadband_Infograhic

For more information visit www.uswitch.com or call 0800 093 0607

— ends —

Notes to editors

Notes to Editors

Broadband users ran a grand total of 1,030,865 consumer speed tests during the six-month period 1st August 2014- 1st February 2015 inclusive, using uSwitch.com’s free speed testing tool.

For the top 30 streets

We took the slowest and fastest postcodes from the 1,030,865 speeds tests, across 33,015 unique IP addresses within 1,451 postcodes. These were taken over a six month period – 1st August 2014 to 1st February 2015. In order for a street to qualify for inclusion in the top or bottom 30, tests from at least 10 unique IP addresses and at least 10 postcodes were required.

  1. See tables of UK’s 30 slowest and 30 fastest streets for broadband above
  2. Fastest street in UK is Sandy Lane (72.86Mbps) and the slowest street is Williamson Road (0.54Mbps). Average download speed is now 22.8Mbps according to the latest Ofcom research. Calculations: 72.86/0.54 = 135 and 22.8/0.54 = 44.2
  3. Figures take all 1,030,865 consumer speed tests into consideration
  4. Calculated using this online tool: http://download.stormloader.com/ File sizes: average HD film 4.5GB, average 20-song music album 200MB, average HD TV episode 600MB. For Sandy Lane’s 20 song music album, the 22 seconds calculation is (200MG x 8) / 72.86.
  5. Based on 1,896,977 consumer speed tests during the six-month period Aug 2013-Jan 2014 inclusive
  6. Fibre availability figure taken from Ofcom’s 2014 Communications Market Report
  7. From uSwitch research conducted via Opinium on 23-30 December 2014. Sample: 2,001 UK adults aged 18+.
  8. Williamson Road = 54Mbps and Becket Mews in Canterbury = 57.33Mbps. 57.33/0.54 = 106
  9. Flight time from UK to Nassau, Bahamas is 9 hours, time to download an HD movie with a speed of 0.54Mbps is 19 hours, see footnote 4
  10. Read the House of Lords report here
  11. Of the 30 slowest streets, 11 (37%) have superfast availability, according to the BT and Virgin Media postcode availability checker on 24th February 2015
  12. On average, including line rental costs, superfast fibre broadband costs £29.25 per month compared to £20.23 for non-fibre, a difference of £9.02 per month. Figures taken for the best available packages across the main providers on uSwitch.com in January 2015.

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

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