Decent broadband 'could be seen as a basic utility' header image

Published: 16th Dec 2013

A broadband campaigner in the Leeds region has suggested having access to a reasonable interent connection should be considered a basic necessity. 

Carl Thomas, who lives in New Forest Village, Middleton, discussed the issue with the BBC after successfully managing to get BT to upgrade two street cabinets in the area.

Prior to this, households had been receiving connection speeds as low as 1.3 Mbps, which is well below the national average and insufficient for carrying out many common online activities.

"When I moved in I was shocked. I knew it wouldn't be good but I wasn't quite expecting it to be as bad as it was," Mr Thomas stated.

"I do see BT's point of view - they have to make money - but at the same time I think you can make a case for decent broadband being an essential utility," he added.

BT has revealed it plans to have 75 per cent of Leeds connected to super-fast broadband within the next six months and 90 per cent over two years. While this is good news for the majority of people in the region, it still leaves a significant number of households without access to a faster service. 

A good option for such individuals is Avonline satellite broadband, which reliably provides speeds of up to 20 Mbps. 

While the fastest internet connections can generally be found in the UK's major cities such as Leeds, there is still a surprisingly large number of households in these areas that can only access slow and unreliable connections. 

An October study by uSwitch revealed that of the country's 50 largest towns and cities, only Belfast has average speeds of more than 20 Mbps. Meanwhile, in Hull the figure was just 10.49 Mbps, which was the lowest of all major areas.

Even London was only ranked 26th, with an average service of 16.97 Mbps, while Manchester and Liverpool were both outside the top ten.