The fastest and slowest cities for broadband revealed

How does your broadband compare? And where is it better?

Humber Suspension Bridge,crossing the River Humber Estuary,Between North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire,Toll Bridge providing s

Hull is home to the slowest urban broadband in the UK, with an average speed of 12.42 Mbps. It's not the only place where broadband moves at a snail's pace either. Although the government has made much of the fact that 90% of the UK has access to super fast broadband, gaps in the service and the number of people who don't want to pay so much for a speedy connection, mean that seven cities have average speeds of less than 20 Mbps - and 20 cities have speeds under 24 Mbps.

The study, from uSwitch wasn't focused on the fastest speeds boasted of by the providers. Instead it looked at the actual speeds achieved by users in each city - regardless of whether they paid for ultra-fast services or not. Between August 1015 and February 2016, Hull residents registered the slowest broadband.

It's the victim of a quirk in the system that means it doesn't have Openreach lines, and instead an independent supplier runs the network - which has yet to finish rolling out ultra-fast connections in the city.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at, says: "Hull's broadband infrastructure is unique. It's the only place in the UK that doesn't have Openreach lines. Instead, independent telecoms supplier KCOM provides the broadband service. Although KCOM is currently rolling out ultrafast-capable, fibre-to-the-home connections in Hull, actual speed tests taken by broadband users would suggest this hasn't reached enough homes yet to make an impact on the average."

Despite this quirk, it's not the only city where getting online is a frustrating business. Aberdeen registered speeds of just 15.67 Mbps and Milton Keynes 17.1 Mbps.

Slowest 10 cities for broadband (Mbps)
Hull 12.42
Aberdeen 15.67
Milton Keynes 17.10
Wakefield 17.49
Sheffield 18.36
Doncaster 18.38
Norwich 19.43
Edinburgh 21.07
Newcastle 21.14
Newport 21.24

One of the most alarming statistics in the study was that 20% of all the tests done as part of the study actually revealed speeds of less than 5Mbps - which means, for example, that it would take two hours to download a film if you wanted to stream it. Compare that to faster speeds in Middlesbrough, where downloading a film would take just 18 minutes.

To add insult to injury, some cities are suffering horribly slow broadband compared to their very near neighbours. In Huddersfield, for example, users are getting a speedy average of 27.71 Mbps. However, just 15 miles away in Wakefield, they are suffering with just 17.49 Mbps.

Taylor-Gibson points out that in many cases, much faster broadband is available. He says that more work needs to be done to understand why people aren't taking it up. He suggests providers should do more to educate people on the potential benefits. However, he also refers to what is likely to be the biggest barrier of all, saying "It needs to be priced right too."


It's not all bad news though. At the other end of the spectrum, some cities have taken up super fast broadband in their droves, so despite gaps in the services, they are registering speedy averages overall. Middlesbrough is fastest at 34.46 Mbps, followed by Belfast at 34.34 Mbps, and Brighton at 33.8 Mbps.

Fastest 10
Middlesbrough 34.46
Belfast 34.34
Brighton 33.80
Swindon 31.83
Nottingham 30.43
Cardiff 30.23
Bristol 28.63
Huddersfield 27.71
Plymouth 27.33
Southampton 27.03

So how does your city do? And are you happy with the speeds you are getting? Let us know in the comments.

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