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The 10 Best and Worst UK Council Areas for Broadband Uploads

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 (3:04 pm) - Score 6,432
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A new piece of research has helped to reveal the top 10 UK council areas by average (median) broadband ISP upload speed, which perhaps unsurprisingly sees KCOM’s full fibre dominated city of Hull (East Yorkshire) come top on 13.7Mbps. Meanwhile Powys in Wales came last with an upload rate of just 2Mbps.

Most broadband providers tend to prioritise download speeds as the most important measurement of consumer performance, which is partly because uploads (the rate at which you send data to the internet) are simply less relevant to most everyday tasks. However, the COVID-19 crisis has forced more people to both work and play from home, which in turn has placed greater emphasis on uploads.

A good upload speed thus helps to support key tasks, such as sending large files to workmates, live video conferencing or streaming (e.g. Twitch, YouTube), cloud-based services and remote play (e.g. Google’s Stadia) and P2P based software updates etc. Admittedly, most people won’t need more than a handful of megabits for this, but in a busy household it certainly doesn’t hurt to have more upstream speed to harness when needed.

The good news is that Thinkbroadband has just scoured their database of web-based speedtests and produced a new table to show the top ten fastest and slowest UK council areas by upload speed. As usual it’s important to note that speedtest based studies like this can be affected by all sorts of issues within the home, such as slow WiFi, limitations of the tester itself, a person’s choice of package (e.g. faster services than your chosen one may be available) and local network congestion etc.

The following results are thus only good for observing general market change and shouldn’t be taken as a reflection of network availability. In that sense we’ve tried to add some additional context to TBB’s figures by also pulling download the latest network availability (% coverage) figures for both 30Mbps+ and 1Gbps (Gigabit) capable networks in each area (note: these two tend to reflect download potential more than upload).

Naturally, areas with strong “superfast” 30Mbps+ and Gigabit network coverage fair the best below, although 30Mbps+ capability is perhaps the most important of the two given its wide availability and take-up (many 30Mbps+ download packages these days tend to come with 10Mbps+ capable upload performance). What we can’t see below is how many people in each sample are still on slow ADSL lines (still used by roughly a quarter of UK broadband lines) etc.

The Top 10 Fastest Council Areas by Upload Speed
Council Area Median Upload (Mbps) 30Mbps Coverage % Gigabit Coverage %
City of Kingston upon Hull 13.7 99.06% 99.03%
Tower Hamlets 13.1 94.84% 50.82%
City and County of the City of London 13.1 58.40% 45.05%
City of Westminster 10.5 92.27% 51.29%
Stevenage District 9.8 99.61% 1.57%
Milton Keynes 9.7 99.06% 82.23%
Brent 9.5 98.29% 17.58%
Wandsworth 9.3 98.67% 37.99%
Epsom and Ewell District 9.3 99.82% 64.07%
Hillingdon 9.3 97.26% 4.21%
The Top 10 Slowest Council Areas by Upload Speed
Council Area Median Upload (Mbps) 30Mbps DL Coverage % Gigabit Coverage %
South Holland District 3.8 89.60% 6.37%
Highland 3.8 81.26% 5.65%
South Hams District 3.7 88.85% 19.70%
Mid Devon District 3.7 82.57% 5.46%
Shetland Islands 3.6 75.22% 1.20%
Argyll and Bute 3.5 84.30% 1.36%
Mid Ulster 3.3 76.15% 39.75%
Orkney Islands 2.5 65.09% 0.34%
Fermanagh and Omagh 2.3 69.51% 29.42%
Powys – Powys 2 83.09% 20.09%

Leave a Comment
17 Responses
  1. Avatar Guy Cashmore says:

    Well done Connecting Devon & Somerset (CDS) for ensuring Devon appears twice in the slowest list (South Hams & Mid Devon).

    1. Avatar freddie says:

      Yeah Mid Devon…

      Meanwhile in the SAME cities in the UK that get the SAME coverage EVERYTIME something new comes out – you could drown in Gbps Pussay.

      But right in the middle of Devon, can’t even watch Cat videos unless the cat has to stop every 20 seconds for a rest and to chase the circle.

      Never seen them say “a new GB network in Cullompton” for example – always London or sodding Sheffield or sodding Bristol or Cardiff.

      And yes, I am jealous!

  2. Avatar Ks says:

    Sound like Political or business driven list, Buckinghamshire isn’t there it is worst also despite of being next to London, so not including it making their chances bad of getting super fast broadband

    1. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      How is it a politically driven list? Sort order used was median upload which places Buckinghamshire in the top half of the council list with 7.1 Mbps median upload


  3. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Well done @AF for shining a light on this.

    Quite surprised how slow Wandsworth is given how much Community Fibre and HyperOptic there is in MDU’s

    1. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      If you look at the mean upload the presence of some with much faster uploads is clear

  4. Avatar Paul M says:

    Connecting Cambridge only cares about download speed, so although our upload is quite poor, our download is just fast enough to disqualify us from any financial support.

  5. Avatar Stephen McDine says:

    A legacy from Kingston Communications for Hull to be top me thinks

  6. Avatar Munir Ahmed says:

    I live in Dumbreck area of Glasgow where upload speed drops to 525 k/sec, even lower when cloud back up is in progress. Download speed is only around 12 MBs, this is because BT cabinet is about 1.5 miles away from houses and exchange is far. There are many small areas which suffer like this and there are no Virign underground cables either. These areas should be marked clearly in your reports not just council area. Like Glasgow has very large council area and upload speed varies.

    1. Avatar Optimist says:

      Doesn’t the Think Broadband website already have comprehensive data on this? Those who, like me, check their speed there state their postcode and ISP.

    2. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:


      And there is a full postcode search option there.

      With 1.7 million postcodes it is impossible to cover every one in a short news item.

      The original item on Thinkbroadband also includes indications of the speed range for the areas mentioned.

    3. Avatar freddie says:

      [admin note: removed personal abuse – that was your second warning]

  7. Avatar Mark says:

    You’d think at a time when there are more people working from home, Openreach would increase the upload speed of their FTTC packages. Their maximum speeds are 80/20 but in reality, they can easily do 100/30 and in Germany they even reach 100/40 using the same profile! Yes I know less people will be able to achieve these speeds as opposed to 80/20 but if they want to spend an extra £10 a month to gain a few Mb/s then that’s their choice!

    1. Avatar freddie says:

      You’d think they would add more people who can get it too.. Up the road they can get FTTC/Gfast and FTTP – 200M down here – ADSL!

      And this is in the middle of a city btw

  8. Avatar Andy says:

    Sheffield S20, I only get 1.2 to 1.5 Mbps. With Scott 15 Mbps down. Hopefully out cable with get upgraded soon. I believe I’m over 2 miles from exchange because of the stupid long route it takes.

  9. Avatar freddie says:

    To draw another comparison. Even on the island of Tiree which is NW Scotland they get 100mbps up and down (well the campsite does anyway) and it’s an 8 hour ferry trip to them!

  10. Avatar Roger Searle says:

    You should try where I live in West Somerset where broadband speeds are measured in Kbps not Mbps….average on a good day 890Kbps (0.89Mbps)…

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