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Broadband speed: Where does your town or city come?

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Hull lags behind other towns and cities in the UK for broadband speed while Middlesbrough tops the table, new research from a comparison site reveals.

Residents in Hull recorded average download speeds of just 12.42Mbps during a six month period, despite ‘superfast’ broadband being available to 90% of the UK which requires a minimum speed of 24Mbps.

Data collected by uSwitch between August 2015 and February 2016 revealed that Aberdeen and Milton Keynes are the UK’s second and third slowest cities for broadband, with speeds of 15.67Mbps and 17.10Mbps.

Overall, with the threshold for superfast broadband at 24Mbps, uSwitch found that 20 UK towns and cities had average speeds slower than this which suggests that barriers to the take up of fibre broadband, including awareness of availability as well as pricing, could be improved in urban areas.

Three in 10 of its tests also logged actual speeds of less than 5Mbps so for anyone downloading a film at this speed, it would take two hours.

At the other end of the scale, one in 10 tests recorded speeds above 50Mbps, and 22 of the 42 towns and cities enjoy superfast average speeds above 24Mbps.

Middlesbrough takes the top place with 34.46Mbps, followed closely by Belfast with 34.34Mbps and Brighton with 33.80Mbps.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at, said the slower speed in Hull could be because it’s the only place in the UK that doesn’t have Openreach lines so instead, independent telecoms supplier KCOM providers the broadband service.

While it is currently rolling out ultrafast fibre in Hull, the actual speed tests taken by broadband users suggest it’s not reached enough homes yet to make an impact on the average speed.

He added: “But it’s not just Hull in the slow lane. The UK’s cities should be leading the charge when it comes to broadband speeds, yet just 22 cities have broadband users with average speeds of more than 24Mbps. With capital cities like London and Edinburgh not on that list, we should be asking what more can be done to encourage the adoption of superfast broadband now it’s so widely available.

“The Government’s latest rollout figures reveal superfast broadband is now available to over 90% of homes and businesses in the UK, with £1.7bn pledged to bring that figure to 95% by 2017. But our data suggests take up isn’t high enough – even in our biggest cities. With fibre ever more available, home broadband users need to know it’s there, and it needs to be priced right, too.”

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