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Broadband speed ‘notspots’ in UK to be exposed

Millions of UK homes stuck in a broadband slowspot

Man at computer

Broadband news site Thinkbroadband.com has launched a website to map the areas of the UK which get a slow broadband connection of less than 2Mbps or none at all. 

The launch of Broadband-notspot.org.uk comes in the wake of new research by the BBC that reveals around 3 million UK homes are stuck in broadband ‘slowspots’ that get a broadband speed of less than 2Mbps. 

This suggests that the government still has some way to go if it is to meet its proposals to give every UK home access to 2Mbps broadband by 2012.

What affects broadband speed

As the Which? broadband review reveals, widely advertised broadband speeds range from 1Mbps to more than 10Mbps from companies including Be, O2 and Virgin Media. But the actual speed you’ll get may be much slower than advertised. 

Geography has the biggest impact on the online speed you can get via ADSL broadband (over a BT phone line). The shorter the distance your phone line has to stretch to the nearest exchange, the higher your potential broadband speed. 

People living in rural areas – where there’s a lower density of exchanges – are more likely to suffer from slow broadband speeds, although the BBC’s research has revealed that many broadband ‘notspots’ – where there’s no connection at all – occur in suburban areas and even streets in major towns.

Take a look at the Which? guide to broadband speed for other factors that affect your broadband speed. 

Why broadband speed matters

If you’ve got a slow broadband connection, your online experience might be very different from that of someone with a fast broadband speed. 

Which? broadband expert Ceri Stanaway says: ‘These days, many of us consider broadband to be an essential service rather than an optional extra. A reliable 2Mbps is fine for general surfing and emailing, but bandwidth-hungry online pastimes such as online gaming and BBC iPlayer and other online TV services are making faster broadband speeds increasingly important.

‘Households with a maximum broadband speed of less than 2Mbps could find using some internet applications frustrating, especially if several people want to use the internet at the same time.’ 

Map your broadband speed

Broadband-notspot.org.uk is a project to map and track areas of the UK where fast broadband is not available. The broadband website allows consumers to enter their details if they live in an area where they can’t get broadband at all.

It also lets you test your broadband speed and make a note if you live in a ‘slowspot’.

Although many factors that affect your broadband speed are out of your control, the Which? guide to broadband speed has lots of tips for getting the most from your available online speed. 


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