Channel 4 survey highlights UK broadband speed discrepancies header image

Published: 30th Sep 2013

A survey carried out by Channel 4 News has highlighted the significant variation in broadband speeds that occurs throughout the UK. 

In a bid to test the quality of connections across the country, the broadcaster asked readers of its website to download a high resolution image and time how long the file took to download. 

The slowest speed was 12 minutes and 22.5 seconds, which was recorded by an internet user in north Lancashire. Meanwhile, the fastest response was in Bristol, where one person was able to download the image in just nine seconds, which clearly demonstrates the huge level of variation between broadband services across the country. 

Channel 4 News itself was able to open the file in around ten seconds, although a journalist at the Guardian reported it took a relatively slow one minute for the image to download at the newspaper's multimedia department.

The broadcaster said it was prompted into carrying out this online survey following the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) recent criticism of the government's programme to improve broadband services across the country. 

Last week, the PAC accused the coalition of having "mismanaged" its project that aims to bring super-fast connections to 90 per cent of the UK and claimed the scheme is not providing value for taxpayers' money and is allowing BT to establish a monopoly. 

Committee chair Margaret Hodge stated: "The programme to extend super-fast broadband to rural areas has been mismanaged by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport."

"The consumer is failing to get the benefits of healthy competition and BT will end up owning assets created from £1.2 billion of public money," she added.

Channel 4's survey is the not first research to demonstrate the vast discrepancies in UK broadband speeds, as a March study by uSwitch found services can vary significantly even within the same city.

For example, in Birmingham certain postcodes had connections that were 89 per cent slower than other areas just a few miles away.