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Bad broadband in London, but is it true?
Monday 03 August 2015 12:30:08 by Andrew Ferguson

This article is to highlight while not everyone in London can get superfast broadband yet, the situation is far from what some parts of the press want to convey. The London Evening Standard is the latest publication to carry the long running story about London being one of the worst capitals for broadband in Europe. Without a doubt there are parts of London where speeds are bad, but there are question marks about the conclusions reached, e.g. they say 40% of Tower Hamlets residents are affected and list 79,500 households as not having access to high-speed internet (no definition supplied) when the 2011 census listed 102,100 premises so either Tower Hamlets has expanded massively or they are mixing and matching data from multiple sources.

We regularly feature the situation from the counties across the UK, so we thought it worth highlighting the figures for London and while yes areas like the City of London fare badly in terms of fixed line broadband availability invariably multiple 4G operators and fixed 4G LTE from Relish is also available.

While the table below will be fixed in time as a snapshot of 1st August 2015, coverage in the London Boroughs is far from static e.g. Westminster has seen superfast coverage rise from 68.8% in January 2015 to the current 70.8% and with Virgin Media expansion in parts of London we will see some areas picking up possibly even higher gains. The coverage data does not include people like Hyperoptic or Relish, we intend to add the alternate providers to our data once the phase 1 project has hit its 90% superfast goal.

thinkbroadband calculation of current fibre, superfast and USC broadband coverage across the London Boroughs - 1st August 2015
Council Area % fibre based % superfast
over 24 Mbps
% superfast
over 30 Mbps
% cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 15 Mbps
City Of London 15.7% 13% 13% 12.8% 0% 0.1% 7.5%
Barking and Dagenham 98.5% 98.2% 97.8% 90.7% 0.1% 0% 0.9%
Barnet 95.1% 93.9% 93.5% 42.3% 0% 0.2% 4.5%
Bexley 94.7% 94.4% 94.3% 68.1% 0% 0.1% 3.1%
Brent 96.7% 95.5% 95.3% 64.5% 2% 0.3% 2.4%
Bromley 96% 95.3% 95.2% 85.3% 0% 0.3% 3.1%
Camden 97.7% 97.6% 97.5% 93.4% 0% 0% 0.6%
Croydon 97.9% 97% 96.9% 85.7% 1.3% 0.4% 1.9%
Ealing 97% 96.3% 96% 66.7% 0.6% 0.4% 2.7%
Enfield 98.9% 98.6% 98.5% (=) 90.3% 0% 0% 0.9%
Greenwich 93.9% 93.2% 93.2% 71.8% 0% 0.4% 3.8%
Hackney 97.5% 96.8% 96.7% 76.6% 0% 0.1% 1.2%
Hammersmith and Fulham 93% 90.1% 89.9% 42.9% 0% 0% 4%
Haringey 98.2% 97.9% 97.9% 84.7% 0% 0% 0.8%
Harrow 98.1% 98% 98% 81.1% 0% 0% 1.1%
Havering 97.8% 97.1% 96.9% 80.8% 0% 0.2% 1.6%
Hillingdon 96.2% 95.6% 95.6% 81.2% 0% 0.1% 2.2%
Hounslow 98.3% 98% 98% 88% 0% 0.3% 1.3%
Islington 96.4% 95.7% 95.6% 89.5% 0% 0.2% 1.2%
Kensington and Chelsea 95.6% 95.3% 95.3% 88.2% 0% 0.1% 1%
Kingston Upon Thames 99.3% 98.8% 98.8% 91.5% 0% 0.3% 1%
Lambeth 95.3% 94.3% 94.2% 76.9% 0% 0% 1.8%
Lewisham 96.1% 94% 93.9% 64.5% 8% 0.5% 4.3%
Merton 98.4% 98.3% 98.2% 90% 0% 0% 0.9%
Newham 93.6% 90.7% 90.6% 28% 2.6% 0.9% 6.8%
Redbridge 98% 97.6% 97.5% 90% 5.7% 0.1% 1.3%
Richmond Upon Thames 97.4% 97.3% 97.2% 91.3% 0% 0% 1%
Southwark 89.1% 86.4% 86.2% 71.8% 0% 0.7% 6.9%
Sutton 99.3% 98.6% 98.6% 87.3% 0% 0.1% 1%
Tower Hamlets 75.7% 69.7% 69.2% 16% 0% 1.7% 13.9%
Waltham Forest 98.9% 98.7% 98.7% 90.6% 17% 0% 0.9%
Wandsworth 94.9% 93% 92.8% 68.4% 0% 0.2% 3.2%
Westminster 72.3% 71.1% 70.8% 45.1% 0% 0% 3.8%

So yes City Of London, Tower Hamlets and Westminster do fare worst, but we seriously doubt that other European capitals do not have similar zones where availability of very fast broadband is less than optimal.

We believe a lot more could be accomplished if this on-going campaign to focus public money and get Openreach to do something, was more tightly focussed on the actual parts of London where the issue exists rather than just chasing bad news sells headlines and for all the potential operators to be called to sit around the table.

The London landscape has always being changing and there is no reason why businesses should tie themselves into a slow spiral of obscurity just because of an attachment to a certain office building when it is clear that there is lots of options, for example an entrepreneur looking to work from their flat would do well to look at the E20 old Olympic athletes village where many flats have both Gigabit from Hyperoptic and Openreach FTTP available.


Posted by crashmoer about 1 year ago
Quote:The coverage data does not include people like Hyperoptic or Relish,:Unquote Why ever not??? I guess they would make the current figures look pretty bad!
Posted by crashmoer about 1 year ago
Quote: coverage in the London Boroughs is far from static e.g. Westminster has seen superfast coverage rise from 68.8% in January 2015 to the current 70.8% :Unquote Stop the press! hardly breaking news is it?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@crashmoer Reason why they are not included are

1. The National 90% superfast target is what we are tracking and don't want to radically change methodology until that is hit.

2. Relish is impossible to predict due to its wireless nature and so will probably use a median or lower quartile figure which would only impact USC/15 Mbps coverage rather than superfast.

Posted by ianwall about 1 year ago
There are some significant challenges in Tower Hamlets, as when the docklands were redeveloped in the 80's / 90's exchange only lines were in fashion.

Those connected to exchanges like Wapping, Stepney Green, Poplar etc are all impacted and Virgin Media's rollout won't cover everyone.

Relish shouldn't be inlcuded on as an option. This is often the only service available, and don't agree that it's delivers superfast for everyone. I hope it also doesn't mislead the government in think superfast is available resulting in no finance being provided.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Targeting the under 15Mbps lines with G.Fast would go a long way to solving the problem and make for some very looking impressive stats.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chi.
As the 15 meg % is very low in the results above public money will be diverted to areas outside of London by using G.Fast or fibre to the home much more cost effective.
Posted by New_Londoner about 1 year ago
Sloppy journalism in The Standard as its story seems to be based on a press release from two weeks ago.

The Ookla numbers for speeds in central London quoted in the press release are skewed anyway due to the large number of businesses on Ethernet links, which are excluded. Plus ADSL speeds are, on the whole, generally okay.

Other cities fare less well when fibre avaiability, Ethernet etc are taken into account, but this is too difficult for journalists and politicians to understand.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Many fail to understand the Ookla tester relies on geo-ip lookups which does not work well at all in the UK.

Guessing this may also apply to some other European capitals.

Our speed test results (visible at exclude the investment banks etc which we see some impressive speeds from, along with the various universities that also often get very high speeds.

Posted by MCM999 about 1 year ago
It's not just City Of London, Tower Hamlets and Westminster that have some poor broadband speeds but also those many thousands of users with long EO lines, most often the result of brown field redevelopment in the last thirty years. At least I now see mention of WRVAUX cab 54 which means the 75+ 2.5Km EO lines here should soon be able to order FTTC and see better speeds.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
MCM999 !!!!
Posted by Joppy about 1 year ago
Annoyingly all this speed related stuff is only half the story. Having been with Virgin Media cable, download speeds would be good but latency and lag were so bad that websites would timeout.

Seems mbit is the only stat anyone cares about. Show packetloss and bad latency and then talk about 'bad broadband' based on that.
Posted by merlin617 about 1 year ago
Cannot get FTTC in my part of London, Openreach say 'uneconomic' give us £50K and you can have a box in your street. My GLC Councillor say I have another three wait before funds will be available. Until then ADSL2+ with lousy upload and no Annex M or Virgin with high ping, packet loss and high contention ratio (been there got the t-shirt with them)
Posted by merlin617 about 1 year ago
*three year wait
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Public money is not meant to be used to provide an alternative to Virgin, so if all your cab can get Virgin then it will probably never see public money on a gap funded scheme.
Posted by merlin617 about 1 year ago
There needs to be competition. Bt have been happy to take public money to build their fibre infrastructure, living in the most densely populated part of the UK there should be ample revenue for the taking.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Why don't you try Relish?
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Merlin.
On your Cab I expect the % take up rate for BT is low so they are not interested at this moment in time they call it cherry picking just go for the ISP that gives you the best service. I would have thought in London all Cabs would have had a priority/costing.
Posted by merlin617 about 1 year ago
chilting thanks for the suggestion I just looked them up, not available to me at present but I am on their mailing list now.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
merlin who says is 50k is that a range - cost or do have an formal offer from openreach ?
Posted by merlin617 about 1 year ago
That was an approximate quote from Openreach, I am on an EO line but only 250 mitres from the exchange !
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
merlin my understand is that there is a range form 25 - 50k ex VAT depeonding on what work needs to be done and now many premises are on the eo cable -- majority in london are normally either below or at bottomw end of average -- that seems to be missing in our disengeous post
Posted by New_Londoner about 1 year ago
What makes you think your "GLC" [sic] councillor would know timescales to provide fibre broadband at your location? Some of the more informed people on here would have better knowledge.

Most Relish connections perform no better than decent ADSL connections, and a long way short of most fibre broadband lines. Okay as a temporary fix, but not exactly market-leading despite it being a relatively new provider.

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