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back to article Ofcom maps state of UK broadband

And the award for the UK's fastest average broadband speed goes to... Edinburgh, named today as the nation's best location for broadband performance by Ofcom. That said, its average speed as measured by the comms watchdog, 10.1Mb/s, isn't expecially impressive. Edinburgh is followed by Bristol (9.9Mb/s), Blackpool (9.5Mb/s), …

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Headmaster

"expecially impressive"

My heartfelt contrafibularities on the use of such a cromulent word.

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Trollface

LOVE this (hopefully) impartial data

Karoo (in Hull) - "fastest UK intenet" - my arse.

Care to comment?

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This amuses/depresses me

My provider (Talk Talk) fails to get me anything above 1.3Mb/s - just west of Edinburgh, although they happily charge me for 8Mb/s as they say I could get faster speeds!

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Tricky.

Well TalkTalk are only responsible for the MSAN in the exchange. They pay to maintain the MSAN and they've allowed your line to be plugged into a port. The length of your telephone line is the responsibility of Openreach who own it and you for choosing where you live :)

But more seriously and trying to be objective about it:your low sync speed means a slight saving for TalkTalk if you have average usage patterns(*) but that might be offset by the increase in electricity used by the MSAN if it's operating at higher power levels to get the signal to reach you.

I'd also assume that longer lines on average cost Openreach more money since there's more scope for trouble the longer a line is.

But the real question is what can be done about your situation..and who should pay for it. Clearly you need FTTC (or even better FTTP) but someone has to pay for that. Whether that cost is born through our phone bills or taxes you can be sure we'll have to pay. It comes down to trust:Do you think BT are better placed to upgrade the network or do you think the government could do it better?

(*)Note on usage patterns:If you run your connection flat out 24/7 you could be more of a PITA to your ISP than I am to mine. I have a 14Mb/s connection down in South Northants but my usage rarely goes higher than 3GB a month. I also mostly browse the web so am more 'contention friendly' than someone streaming video or downloading large files.

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Talk Talk are horrendous, mind

See title. Never met a happy TT customer.

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Devil

There is an upside

Every time they fuck up, cc any complaints to the company secretary, we ended up £120 in good will gestures. Still not worth the hassle though.

I now have the name & number of a very nice lady in the chief executives office, as much as I feel I should post it for all to see, it's probably a little harsh on her.

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Holmes

Re: This amuses/depresses me

"My provider (Talk Talk) fails"

QFT

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Mushroom

Re: This amuses/depresses me

It's a 'up to' service, not a 8mbps service.

On Talktalk with 37.8meg fibre line, read it and weep.

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Woo

North East Lincs, 9.1Mb/s? Awesome. Go go Grimsby!

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Why Grimsby?

I think this is a sign of the rather coarse resolution of the map--whole counties for one thing--which means that NE Lincolnshire is dominated by Grimsby/Cleethorpes and the infrastructure installed for cable TV. Lincoln was, I think, also involved in that cable TV boom, but is lost in the vast area of Lincolnshire which is sparsely-populated rural.

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Indeed

Most of North East Lincs has Diamond, erm, ntl, er Virgin Cable so that's probably why it's in the top-ten. I imagine if Lincoln city was taken as it's own "county" it would be up there too, but might be dragged down by the sheer amount of new houses in the city (including my own) which don't have access cable even though a house two doors down does (I'm not bitter or anything!!)

Having moved from Grimsby to Lincoln (I know, I'm one of the lucky few who escaped) I do miss the nice fast speeds of cable, but one of the perks of ADSL is picking an ISP which doesn't throttle your connection when you try to download a load of games on Steam :o)

4mb/s isn't _that_ bad ...

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Meh

Lack of granularity

These statistics are aggregated over too wide an area to be of much use, especially for choosing somewhere to live. It's no comfort to be told the average speed for your local authority area is an order of magnitude higher than you can get.

What I want to know is the average speed at street level and whether I have a genuine choice of connection providers. 10 different rebrands of Openreach ADSL is not real competition.

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Totally agree

Look at Kent for example.

The towns have 100Mb cable modem and fibre optic available -- some of them are often mentioned in El Reg as test-beds for Virgin Media services -- but the surrounding countryside can have terrible broadband coverage and you might even be lucky to get dizzy heights of 1Mb.

I imagine its the same over most of the country, so aggregating results into counties give more a picture of "is county rural" or "is county urban" than anything useful.

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Size of data sets make data less useful

Given that the data is by "administrative authority" you get numbers that cover, in my area of interest , about 2000 square miles and are therefore abot as much use as the proverbial.

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Interesting data

It probably shows a nice combination of population density and variation in regional contributions to GDP.

If you're in 1, 2 or 3 then you either live in each other's pockets or you're a big contributor to the UK economy.

If you live in 4 or 5 then at least you can enjoy fresh air :)

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Meh

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

I think it said these statistics were based on Openreach and Virgin, which would be primarily residential connections I'd assume, won't big business be on leased lines and stuff?

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True..

..but the employees have to live somewhere and it's usually fairly close to the business. Therefore the more successful a region is economically the more people are likely to live within it. I would definitely expect a rough correlation between population size and wealth generation. The other factor that would be more interesting to know would be 'difficulty of service provision' but I don't imagine that's ever going to be made public.

Ultimately I suppose there's really only two factors that impact the service availability:

* The cost of provision.

* The ability to pay.

Like most things in life really. If you're wealthy you can have anything, if you're poor the options are more restricted.

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Fallacy.....

"If you live in 4 or 5 then at least you can enjoy fresh air :)"

Hmm not so much fresh air here in zone 5 (and mentioned in the list of worst speeds) with a cluster of gas terminals, a couple of oil refineries oh and the Power Station about to come on stream... Thats without the streams of traffic form 2 ferry terminals all fighting for space on our under resourced roads, so despite being a big "enabler" of the UK economy (no fuel = no nothing) zone 5 here is (as usual) the worst of both worlds. Poor speeds and a lot of issues from the "fuel industry" - including an explosion and several deaths only a few weeks back.

Hardly a rural idyll

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FAIL

Hmm, "Sync Speed"

So, the fact that massive contention ratios and overselling vs the backend pipe sizes are pretty important as well, we'll just look at the phone line quality, not what speed people are actually getting in practice.

Maybe oftcom should have contacted speedtest.net or similar...

My line may have synced at 8 Mb/s when I was with BT, but their laughable "21st Century network" was unable to deliver more than 2-3Mb/s, and that was before it faulted and kept dropping to a tenth of that, with the support staff unable to help resolve the issue.

Needless to say, jumped ship to a LLU provider, much better, speeds actually close to sync speed.

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Good point

They are both relevant but I agree that Ofcom don't pay enough attention to contention ratios. It's silly because most ISPs don't actually have any control over the sync speed. Well - they can perhaps choose to limit it but in terms of the maximum possible they are stuck. They can only offer what BT an the laws of physics allow.

It's a problem because of Ofcom's love affair with the free market. Competition has indeed kept prices down but it does nothing for the technology. The only thing an ISP can control in most cases is contention. Worse still the market place (us, the consumers) have been programmed to expect cheap-as-chips connectivity. There's bugger all profit in being an ISP these days.

You only have to look at Be. One of the few ISPs to have almost no congestion - speeds are constant for most customers 24/7. But there's a price premium and clearly money talks. Be never was a very big ISP. People would rather pay £10pcm and whine about evening speeds than pay £22pcm and get the top speed their line can provide regardless of time of day and without usage limits.

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Unhappy

N.Ireland

I notice on the full set of figures that if you sort on highest percentage of people with <2Mb speeds, 16 out of 18 are in N. Ireland.

I also understand that a lot of the figures are nonsense.

I get 4.5mb

My NEXT DOOR neighbour gets 2mb

the neighbour on the other side gets 0.5mb

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Boffin

Re your neighbours

Gross differences like that are most likely due to internal wiring faults. Tell them to have a read here:

http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/socket.htm

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N. Ireland

Thanks - but already done that for them.

According to any of the speedchecker websites we should ALL be getting only 0.5Mb.

I am just lucky I guess - but it is a rural area and we will never be getting any further upgrades.

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Not much use

As I've blogged over on GoneDigital.net, I think this map is pretty useless.

One figure for the Highlands? Even though around a quarter of the inhabitants are in Inverness, which must surely skew the results somewhat.

Down in the south, you can break out Portsmouth and Southampton, but if you want to know how broadband fares in Winchester or Basingstoke, you have to make do with figures that include all the rural areas of the county instead - similarly over in Cambridgeshire.

Not breaking London down is daft too.

Not only does it not serve punters well, as they can't really tell if they'll get Edinburgh's "fastest" broadband in the New Town or at Turnhouse, it also doesn't serve much of a public policy purpose, as without more detailed breakdowns, you can't see if investment is evenly spread, or if it needs to be beefed up in certain areas. Will high tech industries be able to revitalise old industrial or mining areas for instance, or is the broadband there too rubbish? This tells us nothing about that.

It does, however, make it look like someone at Ofcom's been doing something. Which is a nice tick in the productivity box.

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Unhappy

Granularity

Although if I'd had access to this data I might not have been so quick to move from East Dunbartonshire to North Lanarkshire three years ago. Went from a solid 5Mb to a 1.2Mb connection. Might have something to do with being several km from the exchange, but you would expect better in Scotland's industrial heartland/wasteland.

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Flame

Load of cobblers

I checked my area on the map, and nearly choked - the "average" ADSL speed given for this part of the country, was nearly four times the fastest we've ever wrung out of the length of wet string, which I'm convinced BT laid in our street in lieu of a 21st-century phone line.

We live on a new estate, just outside a large, supposedly "high-tech" town, with a new BT Infinity-enabled exchange a few minutes' drive away. Despite all this, with a following wind we're lucky to nudge 2Mbps on our ADSL connection. I'd pay for BT Infinity if we could get it, but BT says they have no idea when we'll ever have a suitable link to our home.

I don't think this map was intended as a joke, but that's how it looks from here.

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Boffin

Your milleage may vary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average

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Devil

See that dot in the far distance?

It's the point you missed.

Look, smarty-pants: I know perfectly well what "average" means. I would've thought that the yawning gap between the average speed for our area (8Mbps), and what we get (2Mbps), would've made my point on its own (especially as the area in question is one of the smaller ones on the map), but obviously not. (Had it occurred to you that if 8Mbps is the average, some users would be getting more than that, and perhaps that's part of what's got me worked up?)

And BTW, it's not a fault on our line - I've checked numerous LLU-based ISPs, and all of them say they can't give us more than 2Mbps, as the line in our street isn't up to it. Remember: we live on a new estate less than a decade old, in a suburban location - even worse, I know people a few streets away, whose phone line gives them 20Mbps+. Go figure.

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a few minutes' drive away

And there in lies your problem. if you'd opted for a house a few minutes walk away you would not be complaining. ADSL Technology works well upto 2km much beyond 4km and your going to have to sacrifice more chickens and continue praying for some god of 'magic' to change the laws of physics.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly...

...ADSL speed was not the highest priority on my family's shopping list, when it came to choosing our house :-) (Just as well - the max speed was 512Kbps-ish when we moved in...)

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FAIL

Cornwall a 4?

Cornwall only a 4?! So what happened to all that ActNow money that was "used" to put Cornwall at the front of the broadband leader board

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Angel

2012

Be interesting to see where Cornwall (4) comes in 2012, by then the majority of exchanges should be FTTx so the average available speed should push them into 1st place (with fresh air) and by 2014 100% will be FTTx, so Cornwall, best place to live, best place for interwebs access

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FAIL

I'll show my arse in debenhams window if.......

BT get all of Cornwall with at least fttc by 2014

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Linux

Island life

I have to catch two different ferries just to get to the Scottish mainland. I live about a mile from the local exchange. My router reports a 8128 Kb/s connection and for large files I normally get a steady 3.6Mb/s download speed. Heavy rain can meddle with the microwaves. Sorry, must dash and feed the seals :)

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report on the state of the UK's digital communications infrastructure.

Ok so I see download but I am left to presume upload is not considered communication...

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WTF?

Fermanagh, the slowest-piped region in the country, has 95% "superfast availability"

...but nearly a third of its households have connections slower than 2Mb/s.

Cookstown has 98% "superfast availability", but the second-slowest average speed in the country, with slow connections to over one-third of homes.

In fact, Northern Ireland in general has very low speeds, with high-speed available to pretty much anyone who asks for it.

Clearly, either due to expense or disinterest, no-one's signing up for superfast connections round that way.

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FAIL

results skewed slightly by Virgin's "high" speeds?

Bristol second? Where I live, any of those areas marked as the worst would be an improvement for me. However, a few streets away where Virgin have cable, I could be ticking along with 50Mbps. That's going to skew the average for my area just a bit when for those of us on ADSL, 4Mbps is something we aspire to.

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What does 'average' mean?

I suspect they mean - erm - 'mean' with a few superfast connections dragging the mean upwards. I'd like to know what the median connection speeds are.

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Headmaster

Speed Bands

Interesting that scores of 2 to 4 are for an average sync speed of 6 to 16Mb/s. A bandwidth of 10Mb/s over 3 points. Providers advertise up to 24Mb/s which is a bandwidth of 8Mb/s in which they can attain a score of 1. Now, note the number of authorities with an average sync speed score of 1.

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Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink....

Is how I feel living on the Isle of Dogs, surrounded by Datacentres and buckets of connectivity.... yet I can only manage a meager 5mbit.

If I had the money I could pay for some roof space at any of these DC's and get myself a nice 100mbit+ wireless LOS link. Unfortunately that would probably cost me over £5k a month.

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Meh

London

London? 8.8Mbps. Ha! Where I live firmly in zone 2 so hardly out of the sticks I have no Infinity (despite the exchange being enabled), no Virgin Media, and the best BT could give me was 3.5Mbps. I'm switching to O2 who reckon they can give me 7Mbps over the same phone line through which BT could only provide 3.5. I'll believe it when it happens..

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BT Infinity

Same here - our "Infinity-enabled" exchange is less than a mile up the road, yet we can't get it in our neck of the woods (we're stuck at 2Mbps).

What's the point of getting the exchanges "Infinitied", if they don't then finish the job? It's like me leaving the washing-up half-done...

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Stop

Selective Grouping?

Hartlepool gets an entry all to itself (7.9) but then the whole of Gloucestershire is grouped together (6.6) - presumably to hide some of the totally crap connection speeds in Cheltenham (<1mb) and other parts of the county.

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WTF?

Bristol

What's going on with the extension of Bristol's coverage out into the Bristol Channel?

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Average sync speed.....

is a fairly useless measure. I used to sync at 5.5Mbps when I was with BT, but rarely got anything like that in actual throughput. Most evenings I was down to 500kbps, or there abouts. Still "synced" at 5.5Mbps, but couldn't use more than 1/10th of that.

I switched to Wight Cable, (mentioned in the article) who operate a WiMax service. Most of the time I do, now, get a genuine 8Mbps end-to-end service. Not "superfast" by any means, but perfectly suitable for most uses, and a world away from BT's near dial-up early evening crawl.

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Government statistics

Just shows you can't trust them.

Sub 4M here and falling on the BT wholesale monopoly. I can remember when it was 6.5 but as it slows and it falls below the fault threshold, BT look at it and regrade the line with a lower threshold.

Deepest darkest Hampshire.

Down the pub it was suggested the quickest way to get an upgrade would be to burn down the exchange.

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IR

Colours

Those are some random colours on that graph. Why not red-orange-yellow-green-blue in order? Instead we get some awful pastel shades that aren't in any particular order at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Title, eh? Must I?

I think it's about time we British gave up this pipe dream of having super-fast Internet.

There's more chance of an asteroid colliding with Earth and killing everyone than us getting speeds of 100 Mbps or Fiber Optics.

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I've got your title right here

Nice to see Bristol doing so well. Looking at OFCON's map though, I'm glad that I don't live in the part of Bristol which is apprently in the middle of the Severn Estuary.

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