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Cable’s analysts extracted data generated by the site's users stretching back 12 months and found Miserden residents received an average broadband speed of 1.3Mbps, with a lowest recorded speed of just 0.12Mbps, many times slower than that required to use even the most basic internet services at acceptable standards. Indeed, at 0.12Mbps, claimed Cable, it would take about five days to stream a high-definition copy of Spectre, the latest Bond movie.
The five slowest towns and villages in the UK, it said, all received slower average broadband speeds than those adventurers pitching their tents at Everest Base Camp can expect over a satellite connection.
The other towns on the list were Ashwell in Hertfordshire, which averaged 1.45Mbps; Ulverston in Cumbria, which averaged 1.45Mbps; Gilsland in Cumbria, which averaged 1.86Mbps; and Brent Knoll in Somerset, which averaged 1.99Mbps.
“While the number of UK households on the right side of the 'digital divide' is increasing, thanks to the continuing roll-out of superfast broadband, those left stranded are finding themselves further and further behind – to the detriment of both themselves and their local economies,” said Cable analyst Dan Howdle.
In contrast, Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire had the fastest average speed of 77.17Mbps, and a top speed of 195Mbps – well beyond the government’s definition of superfast broadband, and ultrafast by some measures.
The towns of Shepshed in Leicestershire, Llanwit Major in Glamorgan, Guisborough in Cleveland, and the Springburn area of Glasgow all also received average speeds of over 60Mbps.
Read more about broadband speed
- Ofcom recently announced new protections and rights for SME broadband buyers, including the ability to get out of sub-standard contracts without penalty.
- Business secretary Sajid Javid has launched a review to improve business access to affordable, high-speed broadband.
- In its response to a European consultation on broadband speed, the UK government has insisted there is no consensus on the need for FTTP.
According to telecoms sector regulator Ofcom, the average UK broadband speed rose from 23Mbps to 28Mbps over the course of 2015.
In its Connected Nations 2015 report, released in December 2015, it said that 8% of UK properties were incapable of receiving broadband speeds of 10Mbps, equating to about 2.4 million homes. The government would like to get this down to 5% by the end of 2017.
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) face particularly acute problems, particularly tenants of business parks, where approximately 130,000 are receiving sub-10Mbps speeds and, as a general rule, cannot afford expensive leased lines from BT.
“It’s not all about whether or not you can stream the latest Bond movie,” said Howdle. “Digital black holes, unless addressed, will suffer steady economic decline as homes become less desirable, and businesses can no longer sustain themselves without an online presence. These often beautiful, scenic locations will become ghost towns.”
For Miserden, at least, the days of superslow broadband may soon be at an end. The Cotswold village is among a number of areas of Gloucestershire selected to receive an ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) service, delivered by rural provider Gigaclear, under Phase Two of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) Fastershire programme.
Additionally, homeowners who are unable to obtain a 2Mbps service – thought to number around 300,000 – can apply for a subsidised satellite broadband service.