Broadband speeds show 'massive variation' within same cities  header image

Published: 2nd Apr 2013

There are huge discrepancies in broadband speeds within UK cities, according to new research.

A study by independent price comparison and switching service uSwitch found there is a "postcode lottery", with massive levels of variation in connection speeds between locations that are just a few miles apart.

The consumer speed test, which collected data from 30 of the UK's largest urban areas, discovered that Birmingham has the greatest discrepancy between slowest and fastest broadband speeds.

In the postcode district B42, which covers areas such as Perry Barr and Hamstead, the typical connection reached 20.9 Mbps.

However, in the B35 region, which is less than two miles away, average speeds were 89 per cent slower at just 2.2 Mbps. Trying to download a BluRay film using this connection would take around 11 hours.

Uswitch found there was a similar level of variation in Glasgow, Bristol and Northampton, where the worst connections were between 78 per cent and 85 per cent slower than in nearby areas.

Even parts of London were shown to suffer from large discrepancies, with broadband speeds in the EC2Y postcode district, which covers Barbican, averaging just 5.3 Mbps compared to 22.46 Mbps in the Charlton area.

Surprisingly, the postcode districts closest to the centre of towns and cities do not usually have the fastest connections, with the exception of Reading, Coventry, Portsmouth and Dudley.

Marie-Louise Abretti, telecoms expert at uSwitch, commented: "Despite the government's intense focus on super-fast speeds, this data reveals massive inconsistencies, with speeds fluctuating dramatically between areas located just a few miles apart."

She added that while a recent Ofcom report found the UK's average broadband speed increased by a third in the last year, uSwitch's data "suggests that this isn't the whole picture".

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Posted by Mark Wynn