Revealed: Best broadband UK – Top 10 places to live

Wednesday, 27 September, 2017

Fast broadband in areas around London and the South West have seen them top the list of the best places to live in the UK.

Data revealing the 10 best places to live for broadband was crowdsourced from thousands of users through ThinkBroadband.

Users counted the actual upload and download speeds they experienced in their homes across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The research took thousands of user-generated reports to show the vast difference from one area to the next.

Hall of Fame: Best download speeds

The fastest average download speeds in the country popped up in Romford in Essex at 42.8Mbps.

Brentford in west London took second spot with speeds of 42.4Mbps, while university city Cambridge also performed well for third-best in the UK with average download speeds of 41.9Mbps.

The majority of the top 10 are in and around London, Hampshire and the South West.

Three northern areas, in Hull, Lincoln in the East Midlands and Hazel Grove in Manchester, also made it into the list.

It’s worth noting that speed is so variable that even best spots in this list only manage around uploads of around 6Mbps each.

Read more: Government names six UK areas getting full-fibre gigabit broadband pilot

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Only the Kingston and Hull West and Hessle made it into double figures for uploads at 10.1Mbps.

This is perhaps due to the unique situation in Hull despite having only 75% of homes and businesses set up for superfast broadband.

If you live in Hull you don’t get the option of choosing from Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet or any of the other national providers. The area has no BT landlines and one company, KCOM, owns all the phone and broadband lines.

Hazel Grove perhaps benefits from being an affluent Manchester suburb without densely packed neighbourhoods all vying to grab their broadband from the same fibre lines in the same street cabinets.

It slots in at a surprise eighth in the top 10 fastest download areas in the UK.

Wall of Shame: Worst download speeds

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that the slowest, most unreliable broadband appears to be in the far-flung Scottish highlands, and the not-so-far-flung Welsh valleys.

In fact every area with the top 10 slowest download speeds – bar Central Devon – is in either Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Rural areas have the best views, but the worst broadband. We think that’s fairly common knowledge. The scale of the vast gulf between these and city areas may not be quite as well known.

More: Theresa May’s DUP powershare deal nets £150m for NI broadband

Carmarthan, nestled in the South West of Wales, boasts a quite stunning landscape of windswept castles and crashing waterfalls.

Not so stunning is the average broadband speed, which failed to top 15Mbps according to the average speed observed by people in the area.

Frankly pathetic average upload speeds of less than 3Mbps mean if you live near here, you’ll be stuck with the dreaded spinning circle if you ever try to post a picture or video to Facebook.

Netflix? No chance.

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Tom Rodgers author picture


Tom is a tech journalist and former Editor at