A third of homes in the UK have broadband speeds well below the national average, according to research from price comparison site uSwitch. While half of addresses get broadband speeds of 6.7Mbps or above, a third struggle to get speeds above 5Mbps, 1.7m speed tests found.
The East Sussex village of Winchelsea was the slowest, with an average speed of 1.1Mbps, according to uSwitch. Hereford was the slowest city, with average speeds of 3.1Mbps.
The government wants to see super-fast broadband as the gold standard in most UK homes, and has pledged to make the UK the fastest broadband nation in Europe by 2015. By that time, it also promises to make sure that all homes have speeds of at least 2Mbps.
The uSwitch data – based on 1.68 million speed tests carried out over the last six months – suggests that there could still be some way to go.
UK’S SLOWEST POSTCODES
- Winchelsea, East Sussex – 1.1Mbps
- Menstrie, Clackmannanshire – 1.2Mbps
- Askam in Furness, Cumbria – 1.25Mbps
- St Bees, Cumbria – 1.38Mbps
- Ripley, Surrey – 1.5Mbps
- Newbiggin-by-the-sea, Northumberland – 1.6Mbps
- Pembroke, Pembrokeshire – 1.65Mbps
- Johnstone, Renfrewshire – 1.8Mbps
- Lampeter, Ceredigion – 1.8Mbps
- Watchet, Somerset – 1.8Mbps
Other towns and cities to offer average broadband speeds of below 5Mbps include Kilmarnock (3.2Mbps), Dumfries (3.6Mbps), Canterbury (4Mbps) and Shrewsbury (4Mbps).
The government has provided £530m to help local councils fill in the UK’s blackspots. Cumbria, which has several areas in the top 10 slowest postcodes, received the biggest amount, with more than £17m to cope with its 96% of homes eligible for subsidies. Councils will have to put some of their own money towards the costs, and some have been slow to get the projects off the ground.
For those in well-connected postcodes, the news is much better. Both Virgin Media and BT have recently turned up the speed dial on their broadband services. Virgin announced that broadband with speeds of up to 100Mbps was now available to 10 million homes, while BT pledged to offer some homes speeds of up to 300Mbps by 2013.
Source: BBC News
Posted in: Digital Britain
The UK is trailing when it comes to next-generation access, new figures show.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK is placed 21st out of 30 in terms of speed.
That puts it below countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain.
The report suggests that countries that invest in fibre networks are likely to see the best economic returns in other areas. When it comes to broadband penetration, the UK is doing OK – placed 13th out of the 30 OECD members. But most of these subscribers still access broadband via so-called DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) rather than via fibre.
Overall, nearly one in 10 OECD subscribers currently accesses the internet over fibre. In Japan and Korea, most people do; it is also growing fast in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the US.
The report finds that many governments are subsidising the rollout of new broadband networks. It concludes that such subsidies are justified because of the benefits broadband can make in four key sectors of the economy – electricity, health, education and transportation.
“If you cut 1% off the costs of education, electricity, health and transport you would more than pay for a fibre network,” said Taylor Reynolds of the technology division of the OECD.
“That is the type of thinking required by countries considering rolling out next-generation networks,” he said.
Fastest Broadband Nations
- Japan – 1Gbps
- Finalnd – 110Mbps
- Sweden – 100Mbps
- Korea – 100Mbps
- Iceland – 100Mbps
- France – 100Mbps
- Denmark – 100Mbps
- Netherlands – 60Mbps
- United States – 50Mbps
- Spain – 50Mbps
With the UK’s broadband population standing at nearly 18 million, take-up of the technology is good but there are concerns about how quickly the UK is rolling out super-fast services.
The government wants to see super-fast broadband available to 90% of the country by the end of 2017. Superfast broadband is generally regarded as speeds of 50Mbps (megabits per second) or above.
Currently BT has plans to offer a mixture of fibre technologies to around 40% of the country and Virgin Media has made cable broadband – capable of speeds of around 50Mbps – available to half of UK homes.
The government has announced a £6 a year tax on fixed-line phones to raise funds for the 30% of the country that it estimates won’t get super-fast broadband via existing commercial broadband plans.
It hopes to raise around £170m a year through the levy, although the Conservatives have vowed to scrap the tax if they win the next election.
Posted in: General