Superfast broadband speeds are what everyone is seeking, and if you’ve experienced such fabulous internet then you’ll know that in comparison, regular broadband just doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately not all of the UK has the infrastructure to support superfast broadband, and so where you live can count against you. You can almost be certain that if you live in a town or city centre in the UK then it will be available, but if you live further out then you might not be so lucky. Internet providers will bombard you with offers that tell you that you’re going be on the fastest connection ever, but before you run for the telephone you should check whether your region can actually get it. Research is very important, and this article aims to better educate you on the availability of superfast broadband around the UK.
The data comes from Ofcom, and is broken down into counties around the United Kingdom. Ofcom score the availability by numbers; 1 being the best availability and 5 being the worst. A full list of statistics is available from their website.
In Scotland there are only a few counties where you can expect better than average availability. Westlothian, Stirlingshire, Dunbarton, and parts of Lanarkshire have the best coverage scoring 2, while Lanarkshire and Midlothian are only one place behind; scoring 3 which is average availability. As you can see, the main towns of Southern Scotland are well covered which isn’t surprising due to their populations, and thus their high demand. If you live further north then luck isn’t on your side. Scotland has huge areas which currently have 0% availability. The city of Dundee is blessed however with 88% availability. It stands alone in Scotland with a score of 1; the highest score in the rating.
The major towns and cities along the backbone of England are predictably well catered for. Figures by county are far too fractured, so here follows a list of major urban areas which have top or better than average scores. Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Derby, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, Luton, Slough, Reading, Southampton, and Portsmouth score highest in the country with 1s all round. Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, and Southend-on-Sea make up the best of the East, while Plymouth and Bristol make up the best of the West. The rest of the East of England performs better than average with only Norfolk, Suffolk, Rutland, Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire scoring anything below average. In the West below average scores are only found in Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and the Isle of Wight.
In Wales the best scores are predictably found along the M4 corridor, but no Welsh county scores a 1. Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea have the highest scores with 2s; again testimony to the high demand in heavily populated areas.
Northern Ireland has seen a boom in superfast broadband when compared to statistics from 2011. Only five regions score less than perfect and all of the other regions marked out by Ofcom score a 2. Northern Ireland broadband users have by far the best superfast broadband availability of any part of the British Isles, and can consider themselves very lucky.
In summary it still looks as though unless you live in a built up area you are unlikely to be blessed with knowing that you can get superfast broadband without doing a fair bit of research first. While many of the country’s counties have built up availability over the past year, many areas are still lacking, and those that have it seem only to have it where demand is highest. If you’re going to aim for the best that the internet can currently offer then it is advisable to check with your provider, and if it isn’t in your area yet then don’t fret because judging by the statistics it will reach you eventually.
With so many broadband providers to choose from, the author of this article Jane Lewis can’t make her mind up.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/knightfoundation/5589591691/