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Ofcom launch broadband map of speed and availability
Wednesday 06 July 2011 12:05:12 by John Hunt

Ofcom have released an interactive broadband map with data provided by communications providers about the UK's broadband networks. This is part of the reporting requirements that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport requires Ofcom to make under the Digital Economy Act. It provides information, split out by local authority, on the availability of broadband services, including average modem sync speed, broadband take-up, super-fast broadband availability and details of those receiving less than 2Mbit/s. For the purposes of this, Ofcom is regarding super-fast broadband availability as being the entirety of the Virgin Media cable broadband network and all telephone exchanges where FTTC is being deployed. BT do provide data to ISPs on the percentage of lines that will be able to connect to a fibre cabinet at an exchange, so it's slightly puzzling that Ofcom didn't decide to use this more exact data.

The data on the map is obtained from Openreach, Virgin Media, Kingston Communications (in Hull), as well as Wight Cable (providing cables services on the Isle of Wight) and the Digital Region in South Yorkshire. Larger 'retail' ISPs are also providing data on average sync speeds and the number of lines syncing below 2Mbit/s. Data has been scored to allow for easy comparison on the map with different colours representing the ranking for that area. Alongside the map, Ofcom have also released a table of the data which allows different local authorities to be compared based on their figures for each region. Some interesting stats from this include:

  • Highest average sync speed - City of Edinburgh - 10.1Mbps
  • Lowest average sync speed - Fermanagh - 4.3Mbps
  • Highest percentage receiving less than 2Mbit/s - Cookstown - 35.9%
  • Lowest percentage receiving less than 2Mbit/s - City of Edinburgh, City of Bristol - 4.5%
  • Highest super-fast broadband availability - Luton, Newtownabbey - 100%
  • Highest broadband take-up - City of Brighton and Hove - 80%
  • Lowest broadband take-up - Na H-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) - 46%

A national summary of the data has also been collated by Ofcom which is below:

Average sync speed (Mbps) Receiving less than 2Mbps Super-fast broadband availability Broadband take-up
England 7.6 14% 61% 69%
Scotland 7.6 13% 41% 65%
Northern Ireland 6.3 23% 97% 60%
Wales 6.5 19% 31% 63%
Total UK 7.5 14% 58% 68%

The full Ofcom broadband map can be found here with the data table available here. For a more comprehensive broadband map including estimated speeds, as well as speeds logged from our users and availability of other operators, see


Posted by mhc over 6 years ago

The average sync speed excludes those with a "super-fast" connection - BT Infinity or rebadged variants.

Posted by b4dger over 6 years ago
Statistics are funny old things! :¬P
Posted by ccohen over 6 years ago
Well, I live in rural Oxon and typically get 200KB/s [recenly it has been peaking at about 50KB] from Plusnet, so I am in the 14% bracket for the county.

However, if Ofcom had done it by District rather than County the picture would have shown how bad it is in the Styx, rather than let towns like Oxford and Banbury hike the figures upwards.
Posted by ccohen over 6 years ago
Well, I live in rural Oxon and typically get 200KB/s [recenly it has been peaking at about 50KB] from Plusnet, so I am in the 14% bracket for the county.

However, if Ofcom had done it by District rather than County the picture would have shown how bad it is in the Styx, rather than let towns like Oxford and Banbury hike the figures upwards.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
So what does this tell us other than the closer you are to the exchange or cabinet the faster your speed.

All that matters to me is the speed to my property.
Posted by omnius over 6 years ago
looking at that map i guess we can see who the final third are going to be
Posted by darren_mccoy over 6 years ago
How can Northern Ireland have 97% availability of super fast broadband but still have 23% of people under 2 meg?
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
In the same way that the figures for average speed and take-up exclude superfast broadband, the figures for under 2Mb ignore the availability of superfast broadband to the same property.
Posted by jtthedevil over 6 years ago
There was a lot of money spent in Northern Ireland upgrading to FTTC between the local government and BT. Unfortunately I would say that is were the slanted figures come from. My exchange is upgraded, my cabinet is upgraded but i'm still too far to be offered a fibre product. I'll bet i'm still in the 97% though.
Posted by Saurus over 6 years ago
Statistics just like words can be presented/manipulated however wished, its not the answers which present problems rather the questions which led to the answers being produced in such a manner. From this it simply looks like the area with the lowest uptake had the most investment, if someone had done the maths beforehand it could have been more easily anticipated. However, what we dont see is how much money BT got paid for doing it, that might provide a further indication as to why they were so heavily investing upgrading the infrastructure in an area with the lowest demand?
Posted by wilsonjim over 6 years ago
I am struggling to understand how this report is being covered, given the points made by Ofcom below with regards to what has been included and what hasn't:

- average broadband take-up (excluding superfast broadband connections);

- average actual speeds for ADSL (broadband over a phone line) and cable services (excluding superfast broadband) averaged across each area;

So Northern Ireland has excellent superfast broadband availability - How do we know what the take-up of actual superfast broadband is?

Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
The OFCOM data appears to be incomplete so renders them meaningless. There is no data on the take up of High Speed Broadband in fact they dont even seem to have defined what is HS Broadband. We do not even know what the total uptale of Broadband is as it apears to exclude HS Broadband

All that the OFCOM report seem to show is the avilability of ADSL now many areas may get low speeds from ADSL but may have acces to HS Cable And FTTC/H. Without that data it means nothing. Many may be choosing to take a low speed ADSL producct rather than take cable or Infinity
Posted by robadob49 over 6 years ago
Perhaps BT should use the map to plan the Infinity roll-out, for instance, my county Somerset, Broadband take-up 70%, Superfast availability 4%. Barnsley 59% and 72% respectively. Moyle NI, 47% and 93%. Even worse for poor old Aberdeenshire with 72%take up and 0% fibre.
Posted by darren_mccoy over 6 years ago
I won't be happy till i see people who have been on the dole for more than 2 years out digging up the countryside laying fibre for a basic wage.

The Government should be subsidising fibre optic cable for rural areas as well. Yes i'm bitter and live in the countryside how could you tell ;)
Posted by mcclim over 6 years ago
Really don't understand how Northern Ireland can have 97% coverage of superfast broadband! Does anyone know where you can get a reliable list of exchanges that have been upgraded in NI ?
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
IN NI pretty much a 100% of the exchanges have neen upgraded. It does not mean all the street cabinets have.

The only really to find out is to put your number in on the BT Website to see if you cabinet has been enabled
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
the map is odd, it shows FTTC enabled areas having 0-5% superast broadband availability. Also if the data is accurate the claims my city ha slow take up is put to bed as it has higher take up than manchester, birmingham and liverpool.
Posted by chilting over 6 years ago
This data is totally meaningless if you live in an area that doesn't have fibre. Ofcom should remove the areas that have fibre from the data and then represent it. Then we would all get a picture of what still needs to be done to improve high speed broadband provision for the UK, including OFCOM.
Posted by michaels_perry over 6 years ago
Lowest sync speed at 4.3 Mbps??? The highest we get is 2.7 if we are very lucky!
It appears that the data lumps together the 3 diffrent delivery methods; ADSL, fibre and cable (usually coax). They need to be separated so we can see just how good/bad the service really is.
Proves there are lies, damned lies and statistics! I know the picture being shown is misleading and does nothing to help rural users who are getting a very poor service.
Posted by billdornan over 6 years ago
Never read such a load of rubbish.Shows availability of high speed broadband as 97% only because the exchange is ready.Try getting it and the site says that they have no intentions of turning it on within the next six months.Only supplier is BT
Posted by nstrudwick over 6 years ago
I believe this is technically known as "cobblers". Doing things by county is completely mad; as someone said above, district would be better (parish would be best but probably unfeasible). I live in South Cambridgeshire, which means our rubbish country broadband is swamped by the fast stuff available in places like Cambridge. What a pointless exercise? Next research project: to discover whether the Pope is Catholic...
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