Broadband News

Swindon remains king in terms of households with broadband

Periodically we see data comparing broadband take-up in the UK with other countries around the world, but what is surprising is the variation around the UK. Now that all but a handful of BT exchanges can offer broadband, the variations should largely not be down to areas not having access to any of the forms of broadband.

Point Topic has published its latest analysis of take-up around the UK listing the top 20 local authorities. This data was last published in August 2006.

Local Authority % of households Local Authority % of households
Swindon 65.3% Milton Keynes 63.7%
Cardiff 62.4% Epsom and Ewell 62%
Elmbridge 62% St Albans 61.5%
Stevenage 61.2% Broxbourne 61%
Watford 60.5% West Wiltshire 60.2%
Cherwell 59.8% Wokingham 59.5%
Gloucester 59% Bracknell Forest 58.8%
Hertsmere 58.5% Cheltenham 58.5%
Salisbury 58% Dacorum 57.9%
Woking 57.8% Three Rivers 57.6%
%'s estimated from Point Topic graphic for all but top 3 places

Milton Keynes is the big change over the six month between up until December 2006, increasing take-up by 15.4%. This increase may reflect efforts to improve availability in Milton Keynes, as well the effects of the millions spent on marketing by some providers. The UK average is 46%, the far end of the table features West Dunbartonshire, Owestry, East Riding of Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight.

While Point Topic suggest that Milton Keynes may be an ideal place to deploy fibre either in the form of Fibre to the Home (FTTH) or Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), the large amount of new build properties in Swindon which has not as yet generated any interest in fibre deployment suggests it is still some years away other than perhaps one or two flagship developments. Swindon is growing at such a rate that it is actually getting a new BT telephone exchange, which will unfortunately still rely on a copper local loop for connecting consumers.


"Nov-Dec 2006, 5000+ interviews conducted for Point Topic by YouGov and IpsosMORI and BroadBand Layer v5 database, May 2007." - this is an extrapolation from the use of broadband in certain socio-economic groups to the population breakdown into those groups. They probably didn't interview anyone in Swindon but the multiplication of population % in band X by the % of broadband users in band X leads to the above guess at actual broadband takeup.

  • herdwick
  • over 13 years ago

Typical BT thinking... nice shiny new exchange filled with Old Tech copper connections. Isnt it time OFCOM dragged BT kicking and screaming into the 21st century?

  • warweezil
  • over 13 years ago

Now thats what I call a 21CN!

I wonder just how high copper prices need to rise, for BT to fall out of love with it.

  • Dave2150
  • over 13 years ago

Wow more guess-timate figures from a company that obviously wasted money on a faulty calculator. For a couple of those areas id say those figures are wildly over estimated, and for a couple of other areas id say they are under estimated lol. Id say obviously the figures dont include cable and LLU figures, if you factor those into some of their figures they are basically saying every home has broadband lol

  • over 13 years ago

What data do you have to suggest that the data is wrong?

As I understand it this includes BT Wholesale, LLU connections and cable.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 13 years ago

Part 1 of 2: I think someone needs to consider the average exchange line length weighted factors applicable to the exchanges associated with these towns and figures. I.e. some more rural exchanges / towns will have an inherently higher average line length, meaning, de facto, a higher proportion of people living in that area / connected to those exchanges will be too distant to be able to receive any ADSL service (hence artificially reducing the supposed "take up" in such towns / exchanges).

  • username8
  • over 13 years ago

Part 2 of 2: I.e. if in Swindon 90% of dwellings are within range to receive some form of ADSL service, whereas in Ruralsville, if only 40% of dwellings are within range to receive any form of ADSL service, Ruralsville will never be able to show a statistic better than 40% even where 100% of those that could take up ADSL have done. I.e. the figures should be based on take-up per serviceable line not total lines irrespective of ability to support ASDL / line length.

  • username8
  • over 13 years ago

As someone who lives near and has friends in MK, I can say with a fair amount of authority that precious few people have any form of DSL due to the distance from the few exchanges that serve the area.

Most people get their TV via the BT Cable TV system, which rebroadcasts some channels and gives customers an RF hookup in their house which just goes straight into the back of the TV, no STB required. There's no cable internet to most of the houses in MK, if not any, and other people get digital TV via Sky.

MK's cable is truly "stuck in the 1970s" as one person on DigitalSpy said!

  • ChristopherWoods
  • over 13 years ago

I live in Milton Keynes and the broadband speed is terrible.
I was told that most of MK's network is aluminium instead of copper as copper was expensive in the late 70's!
I only live about 1000m walk from the exchange but my BT ADSL max service gets me 2Mb at best.

Ive been told the network runs from the exchange and follows along the grid roads on the edge of MK estates (MK estates are grid-based squares) - so Im actually alot further away.

Im switching to Be in the hope of more speed. Cant get a cable connection either.

  • Shalaylee
  • over 13 years ago

"What data do you have to suggest that the data is wrong?" - no more data than Point Topic have to suggest it is right. The whole approach of "our survey said x% of AB households have broadband, Swindon has y% of ABs therefore broadband ABs in Swindon = xy/100" {repeat for other socio-economic classes} is interesting but little else.

  • herdwick
  • over 13 years ago

@andrew, i assumed the figures did not include cable as the story regular mentions BT exchanges.
Also as herdwick points out due to the calculation they used the figures ARE wildly inaccurate, unless you asked EVERY single house in a certain area if they had broadband you can NOT get an accurate percentage figure.

  • over 13 years ago

continued... also if you take the Milton Keynes example of "increased take-up by 15.4%". and "may reflect efforts to improve availability in Milton Keynes" yes for some streets that may well be accurate, but we all know in problem areas one street may suddenly have broadband available while the street round the corner may not... I wonder which they used to calculate that 15.4% growth figure huh?

  • over 13 years ago

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