News & Insight

UK Broadband speeds on the up, but only in cities

Jack Stratten

Broadband is getting faster, unless you live in the countryside...

The latest Ofcom figures on broadband speeds paint a familiar picture for small businesses in rural areas.

The overall average speed across the country now stands at 28.9 Mbps, which is a 27% increase on last year’s average. But beyond the headlines, the report reveals a stubborn problem that won’t go away.

In rural areas, speeds ‘have not changed since 2014’

Dan Howdle, editor at broadband website cable.co.uk, points out that broadband speeds in rural areas haven’t increased at all in the last year, and only slightly since 2013.

This fact suggests that BT’s continued promise to deliver a minimum of 10 Mbps to all UK locations by 2020 looks increasingly unlikely. In reality, 75% of connections in rural areas get average speeds that are considerably lower than 10 Mbps.

The stubbornly low rural speeds mean that all of the growth in national speed is coming from urban areas. And so, the urban-rural gap in broadband reliability is growing – which will continue to be a thorn in the side of small business development throughout the UK.

Feast or famine

42% of UK homes now have superfast broadband, which is defined as providing speeds of 30 Mbps or above. These people are actually getting average speeds of 56.8 Mbps – exponentially higher than on standard ADSL broadband.

While this is positive news for those with access to fibre, for those in poorly serviced areas, this statistic merely heightens their frustration. Broadband coverage in the UK is currently a story of feast or famine.