7 Jul 2011

Ofcom broadband map reveals Internet speeds across the UK



Ofcom has revealed a map of British broadband, showing how widespread Internet use is, how fast our Internet connections are -- and how many people aren't actually fussed about the Web.
Ofcom has long complained that broadband adverts mislead us about speeds, and the map bears that out. Average speeds are much lower than promised by Internet service providers.
The map below shows overall performance.

Green areas are the best-performing, followed by blue and a weird apricot-y, kind of ecru colour. Purple and pink plumb the depths of broadband coverage. Check out Ofcom's map for layers that also show average broadband take-up, percentage of the population receiving less than 2Mbps, availability of superfast broadband, and average speed.
The map shows different views of the state of broadband coverage. The layer showing how much of the country benefits from superfast broadband makes for depressing viewing: only a small proportion of the country has widespread access to either Virgin Media cable, Openreach Fibre-To-The-Cabinet or Digital Region networks. Speedy areas include Bury, Stockport, Wolverhampton and Dudley, Bristol, Brighton, Windsor and Milton Keynes. By contrast, Northern Ireland is almost entirely covered by superfast broadband -- and yet hardly anyone uses it.
Even those areas that do have superfast connections aren't necessarily getting the top speeds promised by adverts. The average speed around the country is between 6 and 8 Mbps, with parts of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland averaging slower than 6Mbps. Edinburgh takes the crown for fastest speeds with an average of 10.1Mbps.
Rural areas will hopefully be better served under plans for Fujitsu to build a fibre network to 5 million homes in the sticks. Other plans include a Virgin Media scheme to string an ultrafast broadband network along electricity pylons.
Of course, not everyone actually wants to discover the wonders of the web. The average take-up of broadband across the country is between 60 and 70 per cent, and most of the South sees even higher use of broadband. But pockets of Luddism in Liverpool, Hull, Walsall, and most of Northern Ireland see more than half the population missing out on Facebook, hilarious memes and the latest technology news from this 'ere website. The fools!
That reminds us of a joke: did you hear the one about the Scouser, the the Irishman and the guy from Hull? It's very offensive but that's OK -- most of them will never know we said it.

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