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Where is the worst broadband in the UK? Speed test results spark debate

Friday, March 4th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A report on places with the UK’s slowest broadband speeds has inspired people suffering from poor connections to speak out about their experiences.

Cable.co.uk looked at data from speed tests submitted over the past 12 months to find the places with the country’s slowest – and fastest – broadband speeds.

The village with the dubious honour of having the UK’s slowest broadband was found to be Miserden in Gloucestershire (pictured), which recorded average speeds of 1.3Mbps.

The slowest download speed recorded by a Miserden resident using Cable.co.uk’s speed checker was 0.12Mbps.

Ashwell in Hertfordshire, Ulverston and Gilsland in Cumbria, and Brent Knoll in Somerset were the other towns and villages to make up the five slowest in the UK.

Rickmansworth, in Hertfordshire, was the place with the fastest average speed at 77.17Mbps – more than three times the UK average of 22.8Mbps.

The results were reported by a wide variety of media outlets – including the BBC – and prompted a number of people to contact us with their own tales of broadband woe.

Dr Jim Cowburn described speeds of 1.3Mbps as “luxury” and said in the small village of Broom, near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, residents are lucky to get 1Mbps.

“As for upload speed, 250Kbps would be a miracle. We routinely get 90-100Kbps at best,” he said.

“Mobile coverage in villages is often no better and while there may be ‘four bars’ out on the village green, inside homes and houses, it’s non-existent.”


Anthony Purnell said: “If you think 1.3Mbps is slow in Miserden, try Laddingford in Kent. 0.8Mbps on a good day.

He said money had been invested in the area’s broadband network, but residents were yet to see any improvements.

Ben Garrard, from Colchester, said his house is less than three years old yet his average internet speed is less than 1Mbps.

“This is shocking. I know the article above focused on small villages and remote locations but I do not live in a remote location. I live in Colchester.

“I just thought you should know about the people in big towns and new developments that are suffering as well.”

Mr Garrard isn’t the only one suffering poor speeds in a new-build house. Daniel Lane, from Wrenthorpe near Wakefield, gets speeds of around 1.7Mbps despite the fact his house was only built in 2014.

He said the estate was marketed as an “executive development” and has an average house price of £400,000 compared to a local average of around £200,000.

“However, it is impossible to work from home due to the incredibly slow broadband speeds,” he told Cable.co.uk.

“The local area is serviced by Virgin but they don’t consider it cost effective to extend the cable network to our relatively small estate of 14 houses. BT will not upgrade their cabling as it is not economically viable to do this in an area predominantly serviced by Virgin.

“I now use a 4G dongle to work from home at an additional cost of around £30 per month. To download a film in HD from Sky will sometimes take around seven hours to complete.”

Cable.co.uk has heard from hundreds of new-build residents who are struggling with poor connections over the past 18 months.

Last month, shadow digital minister Chi Onwurah said the lack of broadband in new-builds is “symptomatic of the government’s indifference on the issue”.

Responding to coverage of the speed test results, BT has suggested that the figures do not give an "entirely accurate picture", because it said fibre broadband is "widely available" to two of the slowest areas identified.

It claimed the report was "either based on out-of-date information, or on the speeds people choose to buy rather than the maximum speeds available to them".

Picture courtesy of Derek Harper.

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