UK cities unable to compete with tiny foreign villages for internet speeds

British cities lagging behind in the race for fast broadband

Updated: 
Broadband

While Britain celebrates its recent sporting achievements, when it comes to broadband speeds some of our major cities are barely out of the starting blocks. The likes of London, Manchester and Sheffield are all being left behind with download speeds half of those of small rural villages in Romania and Poland.

Manchester, a city with a population of 2.5 million and home to a number of large UK businesses has an average download speed of 23.61 mbps. In comparison Fors in Sweden, which has a population of just 860 and has recorded speeds of 40.6 mbps.

Similarly Sheffield, one of the UK's slowest cities in the broadband sprint, recorded download speeds (18.36 mbps) slower than the provincial Flanders town of Oudenaarde in Belgium which has download speeds of almost 202 mbps. Even the 6,900 residents of the isolated village of Rani in India are faring better than many of us Brits with recorded speeds of 34.8mbps.

Our capital city doesn't fare much better. Despite London being one of the biggest cities in the world and a hub of tech innovation, Londoners are subjected to download speeds five times slower than the rural village of Cosoba in Giurgiu, Romania, with a population of 2,490 – less than half of the capacity of the London Velodrome.
The huge disparities in broadband speeds have been brought to light by the campaign to Fix Britain's Internet, a new initiative that's calling for members of the public to act now to help bring Britain out of the broadband slow lane.

Since 2008 BT's investment in Openreach, the national internet network, has been broadly flat, leaving many without fast reliable broadband that meets their needs. Deployment of high speed broadband has lagged behind other countries to the extent that only 2% of the UK has access to ultrafast pure fibre broadband, far behind the likes of Lithuania (37%) and Kazakhstan (13%).

Unsurprisingly, 60% of UK internet users say they've been let down by their internet connection in the last month and 47% of Britons say they'd think twice about moving to an area with poor broadband, signalling the social and economic consequences of the digital divide.

Recognising the need for change, the telecoms regulator Ofcom, is giving you a chance to have your say. If you want to demand better broadband for yourself, and Britain as a whole, then now is the time to tell Ofcom directly. Visit www.fixbritainsinternet.co.uk before October 4th to have your voice heard.