UK still suffering from 'postcode lottery' for connectivity

UK still suffering from 'postcode lottery' for connectivity

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Residents in the UK are still being subjected to a postcode lottery when it comes to the quality of the internet connection they are able to receive.

This is the finding of new research by consumer magazine Which? that revealed the country's best and worst locations for broadband speeds.

It noted that while rural areas make up many of the UK's slowest locations, some urban parts of the UK also continue to miss out on the latest fibre technologies.

Overall, the worst local authorities for connectivity were Allerdale, Argyll and Bute, Ceredigion, Moray, Orkney and the Shetland Islands, with the average speed in Orkney just 3Mbps.

However, some city locations were not much better off. Tower Hamlets and Westminster in London, for instance, were found to have average speeds between 10Mbps and 12Mbps - barely reaching the minimum standards defined by the government as acceptable for decent connectivity.

At the other end of the scale, Broxbourne in Hertfordshire boasted the fastest connectivity in the UK, with average download speeds of 32.5Mbps. In London, the quickest internet is to be found in Harrow (26Mbps), followed by Barking and Dagenham (25.7Mbps) and Greenwich (23.6Mbps).

"People face a lottery when it comes to broadband connectivity - a situation that must be addressed if everyone is to enjoy access to a good service," Which? commented. "Broadband has become a modern essential and a poor connection can affect your ability to access online banking and cheaper online deals for essential services, such as energy."

There are a range of reasons why some urban areas are so much worse off than those just a few miles away. Many places in large cities, such as London, are still highly dependent on copper wire for connectivity, and often, there are unique challenges in these locations.

Andrew Ferguson, editor-in-chief of ThinkBroadband, told Wired magazine that some landlords won't allow providers to install fibre-to-the-premises simply because it would involve drilling holes into the building, while in the City of London, infrastructure developers have struggled with unusual legal arrangements.

"There's weird little bits of London where the borough doesn't own the little bit of pavement in front of the building because of some agreement from 400 years ago. That's how complex London is," Mr Ferguson continued.

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