No UK cities meet government’s superfast broadband target

New research indicates that although superfast broadband is available many households either don’t know they can upgrade or consider it too expensive

James Vincent
Thursday 31 October 2013 13:25 GMT

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The nation’s broadband continues to fall short of government targets with not a single UK town or city meeting the minimum ‘superfast’ download speed of 24Mbps.

Independent research from comparison site uSwitch found that Telford in Shropshire came closest to the 24Mbps goal with an average download speed of 23Mbps, whilst Belfast scored the highest for a capital city (20Mbps) and London trailed behind with an average speed of 17Mbps.

Disparity in London was particularly pronounced, with almost a fifth of broadband users (19 per cent) hooked up to connections with a speed of less than 3Mbps. At this speed it would take six hours to download a BluRay film.

 “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,” said Marie-Louise Abretti, telecoms expert at uSwitch.

Recent research from Ofcom highlighted the fact that superfast broadband is available to almost three quarters of the country (73 per cent) but this new research indicates that faster speeds are being ignored because of lack of awareness and obstructive pricing.

The study indicated that only a quarter of consumers (25 per cent) knew about the availability of upgrades, and that only half of these (52 per cent) considered the higher speeds affordable.

“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,” said Abretti. “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?”

The study found that the slowest connection speed for a major city in the UK was Hull, who recorded the lowest urban speeds (10Mbps) and made the least progress compared with tests in previous years.

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