Ofcom find poor broadband speeds and take-up but good availability

A NEW map of fixed broadband, using actual data provided by communications providers about the UK’s broadband infrastructure, scores Londonderry poorly on modem sync speed and take-up but praises the North West on superfast availability.

Over 20 per cent of addresses in Londonderry with broadband connections had a modem sync speed of less than 2Mbits/s: poor.

Only 56 per cent of Londonderry addresses had a broadband connection: also poor.

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And the average modem sync speed in Londonderry - the speed at which a customer’s broadband modem communicates with an Internet Service Provider’s - was 6.5Mbits/s: poor again.

Londonderry does, however, score well on superfast broadband availability. Superfast broadband is available to 97 per cent of homes here: excellent.

The figures have been newly published by the communications watchdog Ofcom which is required to submit a report on the UK’s communications infrastructure to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport every three years and has published an online map, which allows users to zoom in and out of administrative authorities of the UK and provides a range of data to offer a picture of broadband provision in each area.

Each area has been ranked on how they score on four broadband metrics, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 the highest or fastest, and 5 the lowest or slowest.

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The individual scores have been combined to provide an overall view of broadband in each area.

Despite scoring poorly on average sync speed; the percentage of addresses getting less than 2Mbit/s; and broadband take-up generally; a good score on superfast broadband availability meant Londonderry came out with an overall average ranking of 3.

In Londonderry broadband take-up was a poor 56 per cent, the second lowest score possible.

Across the UK as a whole, 68 per cent of UK premises had a fixed broadband connection, and the average maximum speed was 7.5Mbit/s (excluding superfast broadband connections).

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By comparison to Londonderry’s 56 per cent take-up the City of Brighton & Hove had the highest take-up of fixed broadband services with 80 per cent.

In terms of sync speed Londonderry also achieved the second worst score possible with 6.5Mbit/s.

Londonderry’s most dismal score was on the percentage of households receiving less than 2Mbit/s. Each area was ranked from 1 to 5 on the percentage of broadband connections that had modem sync speeds of less than 2.2Mbit/s. Londonderry had 20.5 per cent - the worst score possible.

Notwithstanding the poor scoring across the three indicators above the widespread availability of superfast broadband in Londonderry was 97 per cent.

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This was the best score possible and despite poor scoring elsewhere ensured an overall ranking of 3. Only 58 per cent of addresses across the UK were in areas served by a superfast broadband enabled telephone exchange or cable network.

Luton, in England, and Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland had the highest percentage of addresses served by a superfast broadband enabled exchange (100 per cent).

Ofcom Director for Northern Ireland, Jonathan Rose, said: “This research and map paint a very encouraging picture of Northern Ireland and is testament to recent investments led by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and BT Ireland.

“We expect broadband take-up to increase further as businesses and households take advantage of the faster speeds now available.”