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The Top 5 Fastest and Slowest Parts of the UK for Broadband

Thursday, Sep 28th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 3,376
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A new analysis of 265,572 consumer broadband ISP speed tests claims to have revealed the top fastest and slowest five areas, as well as five cities, across the United Kingdom. For example, the village of Halkirk in the Highlands of Scotland was named as the slowest area (2.8Mbps), while Canterbury came out as the slowest city (34.3Mbps).

The data, which was gathered during a 12-month period, represents the first annual Broadband Genie Speed Index report. In order for a place to qualify, a minimum number of speed tests coming from a unique IP address was taken to reflect the population size of the city, town or village. For example, 23 tests were taken from Halkirk (slowest village) and 397 from Canterbury (slowest city).

NOTE: The study defines “Superfast” as 30Mbps+ and “Ultrafast” as 100Mbps+ (download).

As usual, it’s necessary to point out that speedtest based studies like this won’t tell you the whole story, as they’re more a reflection of what connections or packages consumers have taken than the actual underlying availability of faster networks or their capabilities (i.e. superfast networks cover around 98% of UK premises and gigabit speeds are at around 77%).

Put another way, the slowest locations are actually those that don’t appear on such lists because they can’t get a stable enough internet connection to even run a test (if any at all), while the fastest are those where it’s possible to order speeds of 8-10Gbps for homes from some specific alternative network providers (e.g. B4RN, YouFibre).

Consumer awareness and adoption of faster packages remains a key issue. In other cases, consumers may be aware that a faster service exists, but they have simply chosen not to upgrade due to various issues (e.g. higher prices, being stuck in a long 18-24 month contract term or a simple lack of need / desire for anything faster).

Finally, such studies can also be influenced by other factors too, such as poor home wiring, the user’s choice of package (e.g. 1Gbps could be available, but people may pick a slower / cheaper tier), local (home) network congestion and slow WiFi performance etc. In short, take these results with a big pinch of salt.

Study Results

Overall, the village of Halkirk in the Scottish Highlands was named the UK’s “slowest broadband area“, with residents receiving average download speeds of just 2.8Mbps (note: there’s no consideration for uploads in this study). Meanwhile, on the other side of Scotland, Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire enjoyed the fastest speeds, with an impressive average of 409Mbps per household

However, we did have a quick look at Halkirk, which revealed that most of the community was covered by a nearby Openreach street cabinet serving FTTC (VDSL2) and thus most of the area seemed able to take speeds of around 30-50Mbps. The fact that it only scored 2.8Mbps suggests that those still on slower ADSL2+ lines or in outlying areas may be skewing the results.

In terms of cities, Canterbury came out as the slowest city (34.3Mbps), while Belfast was named the fastest (152Mbps) – nearly twice those of the Welsh capital, Cardiff (79Mbps), 76% faster than London (87Mbps) and 58% more than Edinburgh (96Mb). The reason why Canterbury performs so poorly is because they’ve only recently started to get FTTP coverage via Openreach and Netomnia, which covers over half of all premises.

Slowest areas for broadband in the UK

Rank
Place
County
Average speed (Mb)
1
Halkirk
Caithness
2.8
2
Lockerbie
Dumfries and Galloway
6.5
3
Ringwood
Hampshire
6.8
4
Longhope
Gloucestershire
12
5
Laurencekirk
Kincardineshire
12.3

Fastest areas for broadband in the UK

Rank
Place
County
Average speed (Mb)
1
Lochwinnoch
Renfrewshire
409.2
2
Monmouth
Monmouthshire
270.5
3
Pudsey
West Yorkshire
241.6
4
Wooler
Northumberland
225.1
5
Middlewich
Cheshire
223

Top five slowest cities for broadband in the UK

Rank
City
County
Average speed (Mb)
Average house prices
1
Canterbury
Kent
34.3
£369,000
2
Ripon
North Yorkshire
39.9
£312,000
3
Chester
Cheshire
43.6
£307,000
4
Carlisle
Cumbria
46
£160,000
5
Worcester
Worcestershire
46.9
£297,000

Top five fastest cities for broadband in the UK

Rank
City
County
Average speed (Mb)
Average house prices
1
Belfast
Antrim/Down
152
£158,000*
2
Portsmouth
Hampshire
122
£293,000
3
Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
117.2
£357,000
4
Derry
Derry
114.9
£160,000*
5
Plymouth
Devon
109.5
£242,000
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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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Comments
9 Responses
  1. Avatar photo mike says:

    Have to wonder how useful these rankings are anymore as they seem to be messed up by what people are willing to pay for, not what can actually be achieved. Norwich doesn’t make any of these lists, for example, but the majority of houses in the city have access to gigabit thanks to rollouts from BT, Virgin, CityFibre, and Upp.

    1. Avatar photo PeteB says:

      Agree, north east lincs has a large virgin cover and with Ms3 rolling out 1 gig fibre so read these reports with a pinch of salt

    2. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      I can well believe ringwood being slow – living near by with colleague living there its only just starting to get fiber coverage and even then its patchy thanks to Trooli cutting corners (my colleague end of the road was skipped because they ran out of connections on the fibre!)

      As a flip side to that my little town wouldn’t feature as slow despite having little fiber penetration as there is good FTTC coverage (unless your unlucky like me being end of line with 30Mb like me) and a lot of gFast as well to pull up the numbers.

      It really needs to take into account take up to be useful.

  2. Avatar photo Fibre Scriber says:

    Could we get it right please, the city is Londonderry!
    Thank You.

    1. Avatar photo Paul says:

      Well there’s considerable debate about the name Derry/Londonderry. The main thing is, like much of Northern Ireland, internet speeds are good!

  3. Avatar photo Tbc says:

    Having carried out most of the FTTP surveys for Openreach in and around Monmouth working long hours away from home.

    Seeing it on the fastest list is pretty rewarding.

  4. Avatar photo Bob says:

    Will the switchover to Digital that is now getting underway drive up FTTP take-up? I would have thought the Alt nets and ISP’s would be trying to steer people to FTTP rather than remain on FTTC

  5. Avatar photo SiC says:

    Super fast indeed, super statiscal con, been on fttc for 5 years and now the min guaranteed speed is 12M for the postcodes arround me, where do facts like this fit (lie) in to all the digital UK propoganda?
    FTTP 2026 if we have 6 months of sunshine (beneath the clouds).

Comments are closed

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