Superfast broadband is super slow in UK, says new study

Not a single UK city averages above the official minimum figure of 24Mbps for superfast broadband, according to new independent research study released today.

The report by comparison website uSwitch.com found that of the 50 largest towns and cities, the average broadband speed is only 14.5Mbps, well below the government's target.

Telford is the fastest of the urban area at 23Mbps, though major cities like London (16.97Mbps), Birmingham (19.15Mbps), Manchester (18.36Mbps) and Liverpool (17.43Mbps) all fall far short of the government's definition of superfast.

This is despite the government's bid to bring superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK population by 2017. Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, said last year that the government's original 'Broadband for All' strategy was flawed and needed re-thinking.

Marie-Louise Abretti, a telecoms expert with uSwitch, said: "The Government's blinkered focus on bringing super-fast connections to 95% of Britain by 2017 is all very well but, if they pull it off, it's only half the battle won.

"If people don't actually use super-fast broadband because it's too expensive, or they don't know they can get it, then what's the point? Uptake will be heavily dependent on both price and awareness."

Hull has the lowest speed of all the urban areas at just 10.49Mbps, while the majority of those living in rural areas average less than 3Mbps. At that rate, downloading a BluRay film would take almost six hours.

"Urban speeds in the UK are around three times faster than rural speeds," Abretti said, "but even download speeds in Britain's 50 biggest cities still aren't superfast.

"If you suffer from sluggish broadband, it may be worth checking if you can get superfast fibre. It might not be as expensive to get or as tricky to switch too as you may have feared."