Broadband speeds have a real impact on people’s ability to connect to the outside world and that’s been especially true over the past year when we’ve spent so much time confined to our own homes.
Slow internet connections prevent people from working from home effectively, speaking to family through video calls, taking part in online events, and enjoying streaming entertainment. All of these things are now part of everyday life.
The Government has made repeated promises of minimum broadband speeds that have not been kept. Rural areas are known to have poor internet connectivity but even Sheffield Heeley, which is a stone’s throw from a major city centre, still suffers from download speeds that are well below the national average.
In Sheffield Heeley, average download speeds are just 65.2 Megabytes per second (Mbps), compared with average speed of 72.9 Mbps for the UK as a whole. The Batemoor & Jordanthorpe area suffers from particularly slow internet connections with download speeds of just 37.9 Mbps, placing it in the top 10% worst download speeds in the UK. Totley & Bradway is also in the worst 10% with speeds of just 39.1 Mbps, while Birley and Greenhill & Lowedges fair little better with speeds of 41 Mbps and 41.2 Mbps respectively.
Last year, the UK’s average broadband speed was ranked as the eighth slowest in western Europe. The report, based on 577 million tests in 221 countries and territories, revealed that the UK was placed 47th in the world for broadband speeds.
The free market, left to its own devices, has failed to provide cheap, fast and reliable broadband for all and the Government must take action to ensure that this changes.