Broadband speeds still lag in parts of the UKBroadband speeds still lag in parts of the UK

Every family in Britain is able to check the average broadband speed on their street for the first time to check if their service is too slow.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, has published an online mapwhich enables people to check the average broadband speed in their neighbourhood by entering their postcode.

The information could encourage homeowners and businesses to switch suppliers or and be used by house-hunters who want to ensure their new home will have a good broadband connection.

It comes amid concerns that more than 1.5million people living in the countryside have broadband which is less than the “minimum” standard.

Ofcom said that that three quarters of broadband customers living in rural areas do not have the basic internet service required for a “typical household”.

Using the map above, you can see how broadband in your area of England, Wales or Scotland, measured by average download speed, measures up to the national average of 29.4 Mbps.

Average download speeds in the UK, measured by constituency, vary from 5.6 Megabits per second in Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the outer Hebrides), to, surprisingly, 46.8 Mbps in Great Grimsby.

The figures come from Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2015 report, and have been split into constituency by a House of Commons Library briefing into the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

Ofcom’s new research shows that average broadband speeds in urban areas are more than three times faster than those in rural parts of Britain.

Ofcom argues that internet speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (Mbits/s) is the “minimum required by the typical household” with multiple devices to get a good service to stream programmes and access websites.

In November, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said broadband speeds of 10Mbits/s would become a become a legal right for everyone in Britain, putting it on a similar footing to other basic services such as water and electricity.

The regulator has warned BT, the telecommunications giant which controls Britain’s broadband network, to improve its coverage or risk being broken up.

The telecommunications giant has been heavily criticised by MPs and campaigners for “forgetting” rural communities as it expands high-speed internet across Britain.

Research published earlier this year called for a radical overhaul of the internet market and advocated the break-up of the “monopoly” that BT holds on the cable network.

However BT offered to spend more than £1 billion on improving broadband coverage to avoid the prospect of being broken up and Ofcom said it would pursue less radical reform, but suggested the option was not off the table.

The Government has backed the watchdog’s calls to take action to reform the broadband industry and said it “believes Ofcom should be firmly focused on taking whatever action is needed.”

The language has been viewed by rivals such as Vodafone and TalkTalk as a signal that the Government could back a break-up.

Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “This interactive map is part of our work to arm people and businesses with high-quality, accessible information, helping them make informed decisions about their communications services.”

[“source-Telegraph”]