North/south divide 'discovered for broadband' header image

Published: 21st Jan 2015

The differences in the provision of super-fast broadband between the cities in the north of the UK and those in the south have been revealed by a new study.

According to the 2015 Centre for Cities report, there is a significant disparity in internet connectivity in terms of the levels of coverage and speeds that are available between the north and south.

While the study demonstrates that the penetration of broadband services continues to improve, there is a growing divide between some of areas of the UK, with particular counties and cities able to access super-fast speeds, while others are stuck in the slow lane.

The report reveals that Luton in Bedfordshire is the best-connected city in the UK currently, with 88.9 per cent of the area's postcodes capable of receiving their internet at speeds of 30 Mbps presently.

Conversely, Hull in Yorkshire, was recorded as being the worst city for broadband connectivity, with a penetration rate of just 12.9 per cent. The city's internet-related woes are not helped by the fact that it is only served by one provider: KC.

Blackburn was the second worst-connected city in the UK, but it is currently able to offer fast connections to more than half of its postcodes. Norwich was the city furthest to the south to be considered a poor area for connectivity.

"Nine out of the ten cities with the lowest percentage of fixed-line connections reaching superfast speeds are situated in the [north of England] and Scotland, with cities in Yorkshire accounting for four of these," the report stated.

According to the Centre for Cities, seven of the best-connected areas in the UK are located in the south of England.

The report states that 72.9 per cent of connections in the UK are able to take advantage of super-fast speeds, but residents located in cities are still 1.5 times more likely to have access to the service compared to those living in rural communities.

A separate study from the Federation of Small Businesses published recently discovered that firms in the countryside are almost twice as unhappy with their internet service compared to their urban counterparts.

Ted Salmon, the FSB’s regional chairman for the north-east, commented: "We risk seeing the emergence of a two-speed online economy resulting from poor rural broadband infrastructure.

“It’s worrying that as many as 14 per cent of UK small firms still view the lack of a reliable broadband connection as being the primary barrier to their growth."