Rural Britain takes broadband lead – but what about speeds?

Rural homes in the UK have overtaken their urban counterparts in adoption of broadband for the first time, according to a new Ofcom report.

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59% of rural homes now have broadband, compared to 57% in towns and cities, according to Ofcom’s regional communications market report, leading to a predictable breakout of triumphalism at the regulator.

“Our report highlights a closing of the geographical digital divide in the UK,” claims Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards. “Rural households are today as well connected to broadband as their urban neighbours”.

That is, of course, complete nonsense. People in rural areas are far more likely to live further from their local telephone exchange than those in inner-cities. Consequently, ADSL connection speeds are often only a fraction of those achieved in urban areas, because the “last mile” of copper cabling drains away the speed.

BT’s own figures show that those living only three or four miles from their local exchange are likely to receive actual throughput speeds in kilobits rather than megabits per second.

Sunderland has become Britain’s broadband capital according to the Ofcom report, with 66% of households in the city now connected to broadband. By contrast, Glasgow is the broadband backwater, with only 32% of homes receiving “high speed” connections.


1. Sunderland 66%

2. Plymouth 64%

3. Aberdeen 64%

4. Highlands 62%

5. London 62%

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