UK’s slowest cities for broadband named and shamed

Hull, 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 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 (30%) logged actual speeds of less than 5Mbps​. Those attempting to spend a night in with a movie might have to resort to traditional TV – as downloading a high definition film at 5Mbps would take two hours​. At the other end of the spectrum, just one in ten (10.4%) 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​.

Some residents may find they have a very different broadband experience to friends and family in neighbouring towns and cities. In Huddersfield, for example, broadband users enjoy superfast speeds of 27.71Mbps, yet just 15 miles away Wakefield residents and businesses are recording a sub-superfast 17.49Mbps. And Brighton, known as ‘Little London by the Sea’ and less than an hour away by train, has starkly different speeds to the capital – 33.8Mbps compared to London’s 22.44Mbps​.

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