The worst and best Constituencies for broadband as General Election looms
While the UK as a whole has superfast broadband (at 30 Mbps or faster) available to some 82.2% of premises, this figure is far from uniform and the sub-division of the UK into the 650 Parliamentary Constituencies highlights the areas where the most or least work is needed.
The Western Isles top the table and that is probably no surprise, but the inclusion of several Kingston Upon Hull areas will surprise some, the issue there is that the FTTH heavy roll-out from KC is great for those that have it, but still lots more work to do. For those who have not figured it out yet, the colours are based on the official party colour (for the major parties) in the coverage charts, indicating lots of Conservative candidates with questions to be asked as to why their area is doing so badly. Of course the Governments national plan never called for 90% of every constituency to be covered. The other end of the scale is shown below.
The top performers in terms of coverage are invariably the more urban areas of the UK, and all of the top 30 are well above the 2017 target already. Coverage is not everything, our speed test results help to show a combination of take-up and the actual package choice people make when parting with their cash, but the correlation between high levels of coverage and decent broadband speeds is pretty evident when you look at the 30 slowest constituencies and the 30 fastest constituencies. At one end of the range we have an average that will struggle with one video stream at peak times, when at the better end 2 or 3 Ultra-HD streams should be possible.
In theory the Universal Service Commitment is still on track for completion in 2015, but all the signs are that just like the EU did for basic broadband this will be declared job done by the virtue that two-way satellite services are available and reduced price install cost schemes. The presence of two Cornish constituencies seems to go against the success that the Superfast Cornwall project has been, but this is down to the extreme rural nature of large parts of the county and the way that VDSL2 falls off in terms of performance as the line length increases.
The proposed Universal Service Obligation of 5 Mbps which the Conservatives say they will flesh out if they return to power produces a very different picture in terms of the worst performing areas. The current scale of the problem which sees 24% of the Derbyshire Dales unable to get speeds above 5 Mbps means that it is impossible to consider satellite a solution unless the Australian approach of Government funded satellites are launched. Hopefully if we look back at these figures in a few months things will have improved, the overall picture in the UK showed a 1% increase in superfast broadband coverage in the last month, if that rate is sustained we might cross the 90% threshold in December 2015.
If your area does not appear in any of the charts as you are in the middle ground then head over to labs.thinkbroadband.com/local to learn what the average speed test is near your postcode and learn exactly what the coverage level is for your wider community.
Update 7pm: The full 650 seats can be seen in single bar chart, though to you will need to view the 3300 pixel wide copy to stand a chance of reading seat names. The coverage is improving every day and we generally update our analysis once a week, with the largest improvements in the bottom half of the bar chart.