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UK MAP – Rural and Suburban Areas See Rising Broadband Speeds

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 (1:11 pm) - Score 2,359

Point Topic has published a new map of the United Kingdom, which shows the percentage change in available broadband bandwidth at the Local Authority level during 2013. The data suggests that the populist South East saw a relatively low percentage increase in bandwidth over the year, due to the strength of existing infrastructure, while many traditionally more rural counties reported the biggest increases.

However the trend isn’t universal because Wales, parts of the Midlands and some of Western Scotland appear to be lagging behind. Never the less Point Topic are adamant that the dark green areas, shown in the full map below, are where BT and the Government’s £1.2bn Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme “have made a real impact” during the past year.

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Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said:

During 2013 we’ve seen the most significant improvements in bandwidth availability outside the South East. Superfast speeds are working their way through the urban areas into the suburbs and out into the countryside.

We see no reason why coverage targets won’t be met but that’s not the end of the story. There will be low speed spots remaining, business parks for example are currently poorly served, but the ongoing efforts to stimulate adoption will need to ramp up before the UK can claim to be a truly digital nation.”

It’s important to stress that a coloured map, especially one such as this which appears to be based upon total statistics gathered for each Local Authority area, may not accurately reflect the geographic shift in speeds because it’s often the populist city and suburban areas that have the biggest influence on the end-result (these are where most of BT’s commercial FTTC/P deployments and Virgin Media’s network upgrades have so far been concentrated).

broadband technology choices uk 2012 vs 2013

However the recent completion of BT’s £2.5bn commercial 66%fibre broadband” coverage target (here), which was effectively achieved around 21 months ahead of schedule (assuming you’re happy to overlook BT’s abandonment of its original plans for native FTTP deployments), suggests that much of the predominantly state aid supported work going forward will now start to focus on more suburban and rural areas than dense urban ones.

But we must not forget that at present the Government’s BDUK programme aims to achieve 95% coverage of fixed line superfast broadband (25Mbps+) speeds by 2017, which still leaves a big question mark hanging over that final 5% and it will take more than the meagre £10m Competitive Fund to fill that gap (here). We wouldn’t be surprised if a 2015 General Election policy pledge or two was already in the works.

map of broadband bandwidth changes by uk region

NOTE: Point Topic does not gather real-world speeds, so their bandwidth data is most likely based upon estimated capabilities that may not be a good reflection.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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