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Slowest street in the UK, or just bad statistics?
Thursday 08 November 2012 13:29:15 by Andrew Ferguson

According to uSwitch in a PDF based press release they have identified the fifty slowest streets in the UK, based on over 2 million speedtests carried out over a few months, and apparently a street can only appear if 30 registered tests are carried out.

This press release is a periodical one, as we know the regional press eats up material like this, where they can talk about how bad broadband is in the area, but with some basic checks we are not at all sure about the actual data behind the uSwitch claims.

Cromarty Road, Stamford which is now the slowest in the UK at 0.132 Mbps has at least one postocde and an example one is PE9 2TQ for those that want to look on our map or uSwitch's own. Looking at the uSwitch map we can find the actual test which appears to have been carried out on 13th May 2012 @ 6:28pm using a BT connection, this appears to be the solitary speed test on the street, certainly no results from other providers are showing up, and makes us conclude that the 30 registered tests per street is not real (or they don't show all the data on their map) - looking at satellite imagery shows the road has around 24 properties in it. The BT Wholesale speed checker also indicates an ADSL2+ service of over 10 Mbps for the postcode, and other properties in the area are showing significantly higher speeds, and even FTTC is available in some streets nearby.

A little more checking reveals that when you do a comparison for Cromarty Road, uSwitch lists BT as the best provider at 15.2 Mbps, but interesting this is based on 434 tests in the exchange area, where the fastest was 121.91 Mbps. The total number of tests uSwitch list for the major providers is 1,370 for the exchange area, and given the size of Stamford we question the 30 tests in each street statement.

The UK like all other countries has varying speeds in different parts of it, and even if full fibre were installed to every property at the cost of billions, speed test results would still show variations down to things like wireless network congestion, malware on a computer, running a speedtest when already using the connection and the small matter than no residential connection is supplied as a guaranteed 1:1 contention service.

Obviously we run our own speedtests, and are not questioning that on 13th May someone in Cromarty Road did not get that speed, but we are doubtful of the analysis that labels this as the worst street for broadband in the UK. Alas in the rush for bad news headlines, and the time pressures faced by many press outlets and the lack of deep understanding of the technical issues, no-one will be doing any looking into whether the results make any sense.


Posted by Apilar over 4 years ago
Bad statistics!
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
The list appears to be totally inaccurate with a number of the claimed slowest locations having FTTC. A quick check reveals that most get well over 2MBs and none come anywhere near as slow as quoted. Maybe someone got the decimal point in the wrong place

Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
No such thing as bad statistics, just bad statisticians!
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
uswitch - laugh and tear up, I think. No 29 on the list is in my exchange area and the list completely ignores the significant number of houses here with only dial-up, so what does it prove? Want the slowest street in the UK?

The first uswitch speed test I ran showed 14.7 down which is impressive with a router sync at 4.8. The second a more realistic 1.9.
Posted by M00NST0NE over 4 years ago
uswitch list offers for my postcode that are not available to me. I have no confidence in them at all. I'd be happy to get over 0.5 Mbps - it is often down to 0.1Mbps
Posted by Joppy over 4 years ago
They should include jitter and packet loss statistics alongside the speed, even if it is has the same issues mentioned in the story.
Posted by orozz over 4 years ago
My phone line is over 2 miles long, attached to the Stamford exchange and got speeds of ~1.75Mbps on the old ADSL Max product. FTTC has changed this dramatically and all the cabs I've seen in this area have a fibre partner.
Posted by vfast_tim over 4 years ago
Wrong! uSwitch have neglected that Vfast Internet is available on Leonard Road, Greatstone, Kent with speeds up-to 24Mbps.

Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Problem in my area is that many are not connected connected to the nearest exchange but to another which adds nearly an extra mile to the distance compared to what the other would be.
Posted by Vivaciti over 4 years ago
The other thing to remember about uswitch is they claim "here are a list of all suppliers in your area" what they should list is "Here is a list of all provider in your area that have PAID us to list them"
uswitch only list providers that have paid to be listed and has absolutely no bearing on what and who can provide service to you.
Posted by Daemon66 over 4 years ago
You know it doesn't actually say the 30 speed tests have to be from different lines. It could simply be that someone was experiencing an issue and hence repeatedly ran speed tests.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@daemon66 Well aware of that clause in their wording. Which means one person with a badly performing wireless network could get the street labelled worst in UK.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
It would appear fromthe way these results were arrived at they are totally meaningless. Simply using the BT checker with a house number and postcode would yield far more accurate results.

Checking just a few indicates the probability is that the U Switch results are wrong.
Posted by camieabz over 4 years ago
Interesting that above the 'bottom 14' streets we have speeds of over 0.5 Meg.

Can we conclude that once these 14 streets have had their issues rectified, the entire country is getting faster than 0.5 Meg?

Posted by flilot over 4 years ago
Cromarty Road? Say it all really - it's the rise of the machines! (Yes I know it's spelt 'Cromartie' in Terminator...)
Posted by Kampala69 over 4 years ago
In the PDF U-Switch suggest - surprisingly - that you switch suppliers if you havre a slow connection.
If Superfast Infinite Tea is coming to your area soon, you'll be mighty annoyed if you've just been saddled with an 18 month contract with your new supplier. TalkTalk tried very hard to give me a "Loyalty" discount, that would have done just that, and kept me on my 0.200Meg. A tenth of my "Up To" speed. "Up To 38Meg" coming on 13th Dec - we'll see how long it lasts before it starts to down grade, as they nail more consumers on the end of it.
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
if you got sky and the Line is broke they Lock the ADSL speed to the Best lock rate, I have come across quite an number of 0.126mb or 0.06mb lines due to that they just lock the speed to the most reliable speed, some just do not bother to fix it until some one like me comes around to install the missing ADSL filters and ring sky up to reset the line
Posted by scottie4642 over 4 years ago
I am with Talk Talk.Beacause I live just within the 2 miles limit from the exchange BT inform me that I cannot get, according to which Engineer calls, more that 1.1 Mbps or 1.4Mbps. This was the information which they gave me the last time my speed dropped to 0.75 Mbps. They poked about the ADSL Box and went away. My speed shot up to 1.8Mbps and has ranged from 1.6Mbps to 1.8 Mbps ever since. I run the Think Braodband Tester every day and also the Talk Talk Speed Checker. The Talk Talk one is consistently showing a faster download speed. I wonder why???
Posted by rjohnloader over 4 years ago
The slowest speed is surely zero - loads of those in this part of the country
Posted by Chilli_Burger over 4 years ago
If you are getting speeds like that with TalkTalk you are doing well. However, a friend of mine told them that she was leaving, they did some tests, told her to do some and then miraculously her bb became usable for her light usage.
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