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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:

RankStreet name & locationAverage download speed (Mbps)
1Williamson Road, Lydd-on-Sea, Romney Marsh, Kent0.535
2Great Fen Road, Soham, Ely, Cambridgeshire0.547
3Styles Close, Luton, Bedfordshire0.800
4Mardu Lane, Clun, Craven Arms, Shropshire0.884
5Weston Beggard Lane, Weston Beggard, Hereford, Herefordshire0.914
6Cheadle Road, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire0.916
7Mill Lane, Horndon on the Hill, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex0.928
8Llansadwrn, Menai Bridge, Isle of Anglesey0.948
9Solway Road, Moresby Parks, Whitehaven, Cumbria0.963
10Shorthorn Road, Stratton Strawless, Norwich, Norfolk0.964
11Foxbury Road, St Leonards, Ringwood, Dorset0.976
12Corrie Road, Kinlochleven, Highland, Scotland0.985
13The Crescent, Allington, Allington Gardens, Grantham, Lincolnshire1.01
14The Line, Linton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire1.025
15Uxbridge Road, Feltham, Greater London1.030
16North Lopham Road, Kenninghall, Norfolk1.037
17Coningsby Gardens East, Woodthorpe, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire1.039
18Kingfisher Drive, Birmingham, West Midlands1.105
19Sovereign Fold Road, Leigh, Wigan, Greater Manchester1.116
20McKinnon Drive, Mayfield, Dalkeith, Midlothian1.122
21Brampton Road, Hereford, Herefordshire1.153
22Marlingford Road, Easton, Norwich, Norfolk1.174
23Tarr Steps, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham1.226
24Thornham Lane, Middleton, Manchester1.236
25Axial Drive, Colchester, Essex1.244
26Balmoral Drive, Willenhall, West Midlands1.249
27Grange Terrace, Pelton Fell, Chester le Street, County Durham1.258
28Bitham Lane, Stretton, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire1.267
29Stubb Road, Hickling, Norwich, Norfolk1.314
30Manor Close, Denton, Manchester1.320

Source: Uswitch.com Broadband Speed Tracker

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

RankStreet name & locationAverage download speed (Mbps)
1Sandy Lane, Hatherton, Cannock, Staffordshire72.86
2Stockfield Road, Yardley, Birmingham, West Midlands71.37
3Aigburth Drive, Liverpool, Merseyside71.20
4Southhouse Broadway, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh68.53
5Winchcombe Close, Swindon, Wiltshire68.41
6Alexandra Court, East Lindsey, Skegness, Lincolnshire68.19
7The Close, Conway Avenue, Thornton-Cleveleys, Blackpool65.29
8University Terrace, Pittenweem, Anstruther, Fife64.62
9Bulwer Gardens, Barnet, Greater London64.56
10New Church Road, Hove, The City of Brighton & Hove61.03
11Rowantree Crescent, Dundee, Dundee City60.91
12Barnacre Road, Longridge, Preston, Lancashire60.78
13Byron Road, South Croydon, Greater London60.23
14King Street, Market Rason, Lincolnshire59.45
15Carmarthen Way, Rushden, Northamptonshire58.27
16Birkrig, Skelmersdale, Lancashire58.11
17Becket Mews, Canterbury, Kent57.33
18Friars Street, Hereford, Herefordshire57.16
19Luss Avenue, Greenock, Inverclyde56.12
20Castle Lea, Caldicot, Monmouthshire53.11
21St John’s View, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire52.93
22Caiesdykes Road, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City52.75
23Tuesley Lane, Godalming, Surrey52.60
24Longacres, Cannock, Staffordshire52.38
25Harcourt Road, Aberdeen, Aberdeen City49.69
26Monza Close, Buckley, Flintshire49.49
27Werrington Road, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire49.01
28Dalrymple Road, Brockley, Greater London48.96
29Brinkworth Close, Chippenham, Wiltshire48.88
30Highwood Drive, Nailsworth, Stroud, Gloucestershire48.74

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

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

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Lucy Smart

Phone: 020 7148 4663

Email: lucy.smart@uswitch.com

Twitter: @uSwitchPR

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.

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