New statistics from Finder.com show that 230,000 UK businesses, and more than a million UK premises, have no access to “decent broadband”.
The study deems an upload speed of 1 megabit per second and download speed of 10 megabits per second as the minimum required for “decent” service, but 1.1 million UK premises are unable to achieve this.
In particular, difficulties remain in connecting rural areas to the internet, with 17% of the UK’s rural areas missing out on sufficient broadband compared to only 2% of urban areas. A rural blackout is even more notable in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the percentages of more remote areas putting up with poor speeds are 27% and 23% respectively.
Access to fast and reliable internet in rural areas has long been a sticking point when it comes to keeping the UK connected online. Research from Ofcom last year showed a striking divide between built-up and isolated areas, and there was even a story of an Inner Hebrides businessman who claimed his connection is better at sea than on land.
Despite these disappointing statistics for those a little more off the beaten track, the number of UK premises able to access ‘superfast’ broadband (download speeds of at least 30 megabits per second) is much more encouraging. During 2017, 91% of the UK had access to these speeds, compared to 89% in 2016 and 83% in 2015. Again, Scotland (87%) and Northern Ireland (85%) lag a little behind the UK average.
What’s my upload and download speed?
If you’re not sure how quick your internet is, Finder.com has a tool that can show you. It only takes a few seconds (well, provided your speed is “decent”!) and will let you know whether you’re among the 91% of superfast premises.
The average download speed in the UK was 44 megabits per second in 2017, which was 7 megabits per second higher than in 2016. Uploads are at an average of 6 megabits per second. If you find that your speeds are below average, steps that might help them perform a little better include updating your cables (consider using an ethernet cable), replacing your modem/router and even the much mocked ‘power cycle’, i.e. turning your modem/router off and on again.
Statistics show the UK is becoming a more and more internet-driven country, but that rural unreliability continues to hold it back and prevent it competing with front-runners like South Korea and even neighbouring Ireland.