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Quarter of us living in the slow lane 1

Quarter of us living in the slow lane

According to a uSwitch report more than a quarter of households across the UK do not have fast enough broadband to cope with a typical family’s internet needs.

The report found that 26% of the estimated 28 million households are struggling with speeds of less than 10Mbps. This is considered by Ofcom to be the bare minimum for a modern household.

According to the report’s findings, the street with the slowest broadband speed is Greenmeadows Park, in Gloucestershire. It found the unfortunate residents had a speed of just 0.14Mbps.

This means it would take them more than 100 hours to download a two-hour film on Netflix or 40 hours for a 45-minute TV show.

In contrast, the fastest broadband speed was found on Abdon Avenue in Birmingham where residents enjoyed speeds of more than 265Mbps. This means it would take them under four minutes to download that two-hour film and a healthy 42 seconds for the 45-minute TV show. Both streets are less than an hour’s drive apart.

This research lays bare the extent of the UK’s digital divide. Streets that are relatively close geographically can be light years ahead when it comes to the download speeds they are getting.

- Dani Warner: Broadband Editor, uSwitch

The report revealed the full extent of the geographic digital divide with nine of the slowest broadband streets found in the North including South Yorkshire, Teeside, Manchester and Scotland. In contrast, five of the fastest streets were located in the South West.

But this is not entirely the fault of providers. The report found that across the slowest areas for broadband speeds, a substantial 35% of residents have the option to get superfast broadband. But they were either unaware of the upgrade or had chosen not to.

Nevertheless, the proportion of households upgrading to a faster service is growing. Almost a third of users now get speeds of 30Mbps or more, up from 22% doing so in 2015.

But despite this there were 1.1 million homes that could be labelled as forgotten. These homes are unable to access the ideal minimum speed of 10Mbps. In contrast the estimated average download speed across the UK is 46Mbps.

By 2020 all households and businesses will have a legal right to demand access to services offering speeds of at least 10Mbps. This means broadband providers will face a legal requirement to provide these minimum standards, subject to a cost threshold.

Image: Osioni

By:

A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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