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The town with the fastest-moving house prices also has the fastest broadband

Friday, March 4th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

People in Rickmansworth are enjoying the fastest broadband speeds in the country, according to their average speed test data.

Cable.co.uk has analysed speed tests submitted over the past 12 months to find out where the fastest and slowest broadband is in the UK.

And while Ofcom suggests the average UK download speed is 22.8Mbps, people in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire get more than three times that, with average downloads of 77.17Mbps.

Cable.co.uk’s speed test results are submitted voluntarily to our website by members of the public using our on-site speed test.

The data is not broken down by provider, but is matched to the exchange the connection uses and our analysis has shown that the fastest average speed is at the Rickmansworth exchange.

The findings come just a week after research revealed that Three Rivers in Hertfordshire – home to Rickmansworth – is the district with the widest gulf between rising property values and earnings.

Research from Halifax showed that in the UK one in four homes are earning more than their owners, with an increase in the number of homes outpacing their owners’ earnings.

According to the research, average house prices have increased by more than the average employee's net earnings in more than a quarter (28%) of local authority districts across the UK – 108 out of 380.

The number of areas where house prices are outpacing earnings over the last two years has seen a significant rise, rising from 73 out of 384 districts a year ago to 108 out of 380 – a hike from 19% to 28%.

90% of these areas were in London, the south east and the east of England, with these regions making up 97 of the 108.

'Location, location, location'

Three Rivers was the district with the widest gulf between rising property values, with house prices increasing by an average of £147,990 over the last two years, beating average take-home earnings in the area by £97,992.

Top performers outside southern England were Warwick and South Northamptonshire, where house prices beat earnings by £24,723 and £14,837 respectively during 2014 and 2015.

Property expert Henry Pryor said it can’t be proved that soaring house prices in Rickmansworth and its local area are down to fast broadband, but it’s no surprise that somewhere with high prices has good connectivity.

"As a professional buyer I’m always looking for the very best and like any homebuyer I know it’s all about location, location, location," he told Cable.co.uk.

"Buy the worst house in the best area you can afford rather than the best house in the worst area.

"In 21st Century Britain the digital commute is as important as the physical equivalent and people will pay for the best access.

"Broadband is no longer a luxury. Fast broadband is no longer just a plus. Buyers want the best e-code and not just the best postcode and they may pay a premium for it where it’s available and may avoid an area completely if it’s not."

According to Ofcom’s website, its most recent figures – from November 2014 – put the UK’s average broadband speed at 22.8Mbps.

Many expect the average to rise to around 26Mbps when the latest figures are collated, but that still puts Rickmansworth’s average three times faster than that.

The government is aiming to provide access to superfast broadband to 95% of the country by 2017, and has pledged to introduce a ‘universal service obligation’ – the minimum speed people can get – of 10Mbps by 2020.

But earlier this week business leaders accused the government of “a poverty of ambition”.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said despite having the leading internet economy in the G20, download speeds in the UK are “mediocre” and fibre coverage is “woeful”.

It said the target for broadband speeds should be 1,000 times higher than the current 10Mbps by 2020 – 10Gbps by 2030.

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