11th March 2015
The street with the worst broadband in Britain has speeds that are 135 times slower than the road with the fastest connection, a new poll has revealed.
Williamson Road in Romney Marsh, Kent, has a dire average speed of 0.54Mbps – 135 times slower than Sandy Lane in Cannock, Staffordshire which has the fastest average speed at 72.86Mbps, the survey by comparison website uSwitch.com found.
On Williamson Road it would take 19 hours to download a two-hour HD film, 2.5 hours to download a 45-minute HD TV show and 49 minutes to download a 20-song album.
By contrast, on Sandy Lane, it would take eight minutes to download a two-hour HD film, one minute to download a 45-minute HD TV show, and 22 seconds to download a 20-song album.
Broadband on Williamson Road is 42 times slower than the UK average speed (22.8Mbps).
The study also revealed a North-South divide: the North of England offers twice as many speedy streets as the South.
According to the research, which is based on more than one million speed tests run by broadband users over six months, a third (34%) of the UK still struggles with sub 5Mbps speeds, while an unlucky 23% make do with sluggish speeds of less than 3Mbps
But the number of people enjoying superfast speeds is growing. More than a fifth (22%) of broadband users are now getting average speeds of 30+Mbps – up from 15% a year ago.
However, despite fibre broadband now being available to 78% of the population, a recent uSwitch survey revealed that awareness of fibre broadband is still very low – less than a third (31%) believe they can access it in their local area.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said: “On the UK’s slowest street broadband speeds are so sluggish you could fly to the Bahamas and back again in the time it takes to download a film.
“Likely causes include the user’s distance from the nearest exchange or issues within the properties themselves. Wireless connections can be affected by the thickness of walls, for example, but your broadband provider can usually offer a solution if that’s the case.”
But those willing to pay more for their broadband could access higher speeds, even in some of the broadband blackspots, Taylor-Gibson said. “We looked at which of the 30 slowest streets had superfast availability and, interestingly, 37% of them do, but residents have obviously chosen not to take up superfast services.
“More needs to be done to increase awareness of fibre availability and its benefits. Superfast broadband isn’t as expensive as some users might think, with prices averaging an extra £9 a month on top of standard broadband costs.
He added: “A recent House of Lords report called for broadband to be defined as a public utility and voiced concerns about the delivery of superfast services. Terrible speeds can isolate people and take their toll on businesses, schools, even house prices. A nationwide rollout of fibre broadband to the furthest and most remote corners of the UK has never been more urgent.”
Anyone frustrated with their broadband service can test their speeds and compare their results to other local users with different providers here: www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest