Web users hit by slow broadband speed

INTERNET users in rural Suffolk and Essex are being short-changed when it comes to broadband download speeds, a new survey has claimed.

INTERNET users in rural Suffolk and Essex are being short-changed when it comes to broadband download speeds, a new survey has claimed.

Users in the south east of England experience download speeds an average of 27% slower than those in London.

And people in rural areas can be receiving broadband at speeds considerably below what they sign up to, the survey claims.

Website thinkbroadband.com recorded average speeds across 12 UK regions by testing more than 138,000 connections of registered users of its site.

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The survey found there was a “digital divide” between rural and urban areas, despite the communications regulator Ofcom having stated otherwise.

Some customers from Suffolk claimed their speeds were measuring only a quarter of what they were paying for after taking a BBC online test.

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John Morley, from Sudbury, had a reading of below 2Mps (megabits per second), when he was paying for a service that should be providing him with 8Mps.

Telephone line lengths and a lack of access to cable were blamed for countryside areas experiencing slower speeds.

Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband.com, said Ofcom had said the digital divide didn't exist and although this was true in terms of people having access to broadband, it was not true of broadband speeds.

He said: “Many rural areas and towns don't have the advanced higher speeds available elsewhere.

“The technology exists and it's out there. The problem is it costs money and we don't want to pay a lot for our broadband connection.

“No-one wants to spend the money, including us as consumers and right through to big groups including BT.”

The survey found the average download speed in the UK was 3,238Kbps (kilobits per second) with the results representing broadband speeds in 6,000 “unique” postcodes around Britain between January 1, 2008 until May 12, 2008.

The website said consumers in rural areas are “less likely” to have access to higher speeds offered elsewhere in Britain.

In London the average download speed was 4,460kbps, compared with 3,253kbps in the south east.

Northern Ireland was the slowest UK region with an average speed of 2,258kbps.

Suffolk did not feature in the top 30 places (cities or counties) the website found for broadband speed, although Essex appeared at number 26 with an average of 2,979Kps.

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