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Fast Broadband Supports Top 104 UK Places for Home Working

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 1,896
fibre optic broadband for the home

Comparison site Uswitch has today published a new Remote Working Index (RWI), which ranks 104 of the United Kingdom’s biggest towns and cities by seven metrics to help identify the best places for people who have to work from home (access to superfast broadband, crime rate, green spaces, property prices etc.).

Remote working is of course nothing new to modern business culture, although it’s recently become much more common since the COVID-19 crisis began and many expect that trend to continue (i.e. after businesses have adapted and seen the benefits). Indeed 19% want to spend more time working from home once the pandemic is over and one in six employees (16%) want to work from home full time when life returns to normal.

NOTE: The responses come from an Opinium survey of 2,003 UK adults, conducted in October 2020.

The new index has sought to capitalise on this change by creating a table that weights 7 categories according to how the survey respondents valued them: Some 53% said house prices were the more important consideration, while 45% said green spaces, 43% said crime rates, 34% said broadband speeds, 28% said air quality, 20% pointed to the amount of local doctors and 16% to the quality of local schools.

Arguably this sounds more like a list of the best places to live in general than for home working, but such things tend to represent two sides of the same coin, although we’d still argue that having access to a fast broadband ISP connection should be higher on that ladder of considerations.

Nevertheless, many people (17%) say they’ve either already moved or are planning to relocate due to the benefits of working from home, with a lot of those people intending to move out from dense urban areas and into smaller towns and villages. As such the new index might come in handy.

Results of the Remote Working Index

Overall, the index claims that Harrogate in Yorkshire is one of the UK’s best places to work from home, thanks to a good balance of superfast broadband, good schools, low crime rates and acres of green space on its doorstep. Meanwhile Ipswich sits at the bottom of the pack, which is despite the fact that it seems to have access to good broadband speeds, but they fall down in other areas.

We should point out that the data for broadband speeds in this study comes from Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2019 report, which means that the information is over a year old. Uswitch also doesn’t clarify whether their averages are based on estimated line speeds from existing connections or the actual network availability of faster services (the latter is likely to be more important for movers).

Sadly, the full index is too big to paste, so we’ve cut out the columns for air quality, doctors, Ofsted ratings and number of cafes in order to fit it in.

2020 Remote Working Index – 104 UK Locations

Rank Location Average property value Green space in local authority Crimes per 1,000 people Average broadband speed (Mbps)
1 Harrogate £381,278 95% 53 60.2
2 Bath and North East Somerset £419,005 86% 56 54.8
3 Mendip £328,885 94% 56 41.9
4 Derry City and Strabane £114,360 95% 37 60.7
5 Wigan £161,403 61% 73 75.3
6 Cheshire West and Chester £264,941 87% 73 44.7
7 St Albans £689,166 75% 65 75
8 York £298,215 81% 66 56.1
9 City of Edinburgh £298,046 57% 102 77.4
10 Swansea £191,516 80% 83 73.3
11 St. Helens £162,410 66% 88 80.3
12 Cheltenham £368,878 42% 72 75.2
13 Basingstoke and Deane £376,839 91% 68 60.8
14 Stockport £289,584 40% 64 76.7
15 Exeter £289,407 41% 77 73.8
16 Woking £534,475 58% 69 79.8
17 Sefton £207,917 57% 77 68.6
18 High Peak £244,428 92% 52 35.5
19 Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole £303,534 38% 82 73.1
20 Darlington £153,494 86% 110 79.3
21 Warrington £244,877 67% 81 69.8
22 Belfast £159,564 28% 26 79.8
23 Redditch £223,947 58% 81 79.4
24 Bedford £314,795 87% 89 76.2
25 Solihull £357,181 64% 75 77.6
26 Brighton and Hove £433,155 51% 95 83.4
27 Swindon £250,755 75% 78 74.9
28 Aberdeen City £187,656 65% 100 36.2
29 Bolton £178,632 51% 99 70.4
30 Telford and Wrekin £176,719 79% 88 71.7
31 Plymouth £202,963 21% 82 82
32 Wycombe £481,288 85% 57 49.2
33 South Tyneside £151,083 46% 110 73.9
34 Hartlepool £139,435 69% 132 83.6
35 Maidstone £358,089 89% 90 61.1
36 Sheffield £211,537 65% 91 51.1
37 East Staffordshire £224,014 89% 58 40.5
38 Chelmsford £422,870 87% 89 56.3
39 Worthing £328,339 35% 79 82.2
40 Eastbourne £268,808 56% 85 39.1
41 Dundee City £142,689 31% 129 81.5
42 North East Lincolnshire £139,978 75% 123 89.6
43 Gloucester £224,406 26% 92 83.5
44 Rochdale £166,978 68% 99 59.5
45 Colchester £296,918 84% 95 64.7
46 Oxford £510,304 40% 98 76.4
47 Cardiff £256,717 44% 107 76.1
48 Bristol, City of £336,695 21% 100 81.3
49 Oldham £164,666 67% 101 66.8
50 Preston £169,619 76% 131 66.2
51 Blackburn with Darwen £144,563 75% 108 62.3
52 Chesterfield £186,653 47% 77 46.7
53 Burnley £126,764 80% 122 68.5
54 Nuneaton and Bedworth £195,013 59% 89 71
55 Newcastle upon Tyne £196,530 48% 139 61.2
56 Newport £204,283 70% 106 68.7
57 Rotherham £168,253 72% 94 56.3
58 Kirklees £193,047 72% 105 60.7
59 Cambridge £508,721 33% 118 82.6
60 Peterborough £216,629 79% 105 77.8
61 Cannock Chase £201,292 63% 54 47.7
62 Mansfield £154,417 64% 114 74.9
63 Calderdale £188,093 85% 116 49.7
64 Middlesbrough £133,130 35% 167 80.1
65 Crawley £320,001 30% 111 88.4
66 Dudley £202,047 16% 75 76
67 Milton Keynes £314,491 71% 83 46.9
68 Walsall £201,777 36% 85 66.7
69 Leeds £225,524 64% 131 65.6
70 Stevenage £312,112 25% 100 90.4
71 Bradford £177,476 69% 134 62.9
72 Coventry £205,097 31% 78 67.8
73 Slough £348,658 25% 95 68.7
74 Medway £275,980 65% 109 86.6
75 Liverpool £162,399 18% 118 70.6
76 Watford £417,352 22% 102 80.5
77 Glasgow City £163,987 26% 129 64.6
78 Thurrock £307,696 68% 105 75.3
79 Basildon £356,246 55% 103 67.8
80 Stoke-on-Trent £126,761 36% 99 71
81 Worcester £238,141 28% 94 43.4
82 Birmingham £228,074 22% 100 74.1
83 Sunderland £141,352 46% 121 59.9
84 Reading £344,426 19% 90 74.4
85 Doncaster £157,651 81% 116 51.1
86 Lincoln £176,555 33% 138 84
87 Derby £187,976 25% 98 76.1
88 London £819,829 28% 91 24.4
89 Wolverhampton £179,541 10% 96 74.6
90 Norwich £240,534 16% 126 72.5
91 Nottingham £176,233 19% 134 80.8
92 Southend-on-Sea £350,944 23% 115 65.4
93 Northampton £237,023 29% 108 76.4
94 Harlow £297,095 40% 116 88.6
95 Portsmouth £245,363 22% 111 83.7
96 Hastings £252,650 34% 103 36.5
97 Kingston upon Hull, City of £123,619 15% 150 131.4
98 Southampton £239,316 16% 122 72
99 Luton £261,977 17% 102 84.2
100 Blackpool £123,686 15% 173 66.9
100 Manchester £215,473 16% 136 59.6
102 Leicester £205,831 23% 119 75.6
103 Sandwell £167,447 12% 90 65.6
104 Ipswich £219,447 25% 118 72.3

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar Ryan says:

    Surprised at St Albans.

    You’d think the millionaires that live there would all have decent broadband.

  2. Avatar occasionally factual says:

    Yet another flawed survey.

    Take just 1 example – Milton Keynes
    67 Milton Keynes £314,491 71% 83 46.9Mbs

    Note the average speed at the end.
    This is an area with 80% FTTP coverage with speeds up to 1Gbps available. So the average speed points to consumers who are careful with their money by only purchasing what they require. Not what you can achieve should you need it.

    1. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      Also down to Ofcom data points they are using eg. 2019 Connected Nations is actually Aug/Sept 2019 data so Milton Keynes was at approx 50% FTTP coverage back then but on a clear path to the 80% as shown on https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E06000042

      FTTP speeds at mean. 150 down, 64 up are well above the average Ofcom reported but the speed was also lower in Q3 2019 showing how things are changing.

      If someone really wanted to highlight areas in terms of speed options, use % availability of FTTP or max mean download

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