Broadband News

Broadband speeds in 42 UK cities

uSwitch has published a new round of analysis on broadband speeds in the UK, and has focussed on the 42 biggest urban areas where it a significant amount of data to give meaningful results for the period 9th August 2015 to 8th February 2016.

Rank UK City/Town Average Download Speed
1 Middlesbrough 34.46 Mbps
2 Belfast 34.34 Mbps
3 Brighton 33.8 Mbps
4 Swindon 31.83 Mbps
5 Nottingham 30.43 Mbps
6 Cardiff 30.23 Mbps
7 Bristol 28.63 Mbps
8 Huddersfield 27.71 Mbps
9 Plymouth 27.33 Mbps
10 Southampton 27.03 Mbps
11 Sunderland 26.73 Mbps
12 Liverpool 26.6 Mbps
13 Bournemouth 26.57 Mbps
14 Glasgow 26.32 Mbps
15 Leeds 26.18 Mbps
16 Birmingham 25.79 Mbps
17 Wigan 25.52 Mbps
18 Barnsley 25.34 Mbps
19 Leicester 24.76 Mbps
20 Derby 24.54 Mbps
21 Warrington 24.52 Mbps
22 Preston 24.41 Mbps
23 Manchester 23.81 Mbps
24 Stoke-on-Trent 23.2 Mbps
25 Reading 22.73 Mbps
26 Northampton 22.64 Mbps
27 Coventry 22.48 Mbps
28 London 22.44 Mbps
29 Swansea 22.29 Mbps
30 Bradford 21.93 Mbps
31 Peterborough 21.79 Mbps
32 York 21.29 Mbps
33 Newport 21.24 Mbps
34 Newcastle Upon Tyne 21.14 Mbps
35 Edinburgh 21.07 Mbps
36 Norwich 19.43 Mbps
37 Doncaster 18.38 Mbps
38 Sheffield 18.36 Mbps
39 Wakefield 17.49 Mbps
40 Milton Keynes 17.1 Mbps
41 Aberdeen 15.67 Mbps
42 Kingston Upon Hull 12.42 Mbps

Of course we have our own analysis from our speed test results and a deeper analysis of your area available via the postcode search on on coverage and speed tool. Our analysis also breaks out the average speeds for the different technologies in an area.

What has been interesting about this release of data is the way it is being reported and it is almost being used to try and show that the Governments target for 90% superfast coverage which we reported on recently being met is actually a sham and failure (for the record the Q1/2016 average speed for VDSL2 was 28.2 Mbps down and 7 Mbps up, medians of 26.5 Mbps and 6.1 Mbps). Alas this overlooks the realities of the broadband market and that no-one is twisting the arm of people to upgrade to the newer faster services. Encouraging people to spend more per month on their broadband can be a difficult task and there is a real possibility that the often negative headlines about speed, coverage and customer service issues mean the average person feels better off staying with the service they have.

Looking at Kingston Upon Hull in a bit more detail, we have a slightly higher average speed of 16.3 Mbps down and 3.7 Mbps up (median 5.9 Mbps and 0.7 Mbps), the average actually rises to 17.1 Mbps down and 3.8 Mbps up when we filter out the non KCom customers. The reason for Hull being so slow is that only around 4 out of 10 premises have access to KCom Lightstream (take-up will of course be significantly lower) and looking at the technology split we see KCom ADSL2+ customers with an average of 4.9 Mbps and 0.6 Mbps and even though Lightstream a 250 Mbps option using FTTH it looks like the up to 50 Mbps option is the most popular as Lightstream has an average of 35.5 Mbps down and 8.2 Mbps up.

The popularity of the fastest broadband options or rather the low popularity is very clearly demonstrated by the City of Nottingham, where the theory says if everyone purchased the fastest available connection an average download speed of 186.5 Mbps is possible. The 186.5 Mbps figure looks implausibly high, but with Virgin Media available to 91.5% of premises and their fastest option being 200 Mbps (and now if you ask you can get a 300 Mbps service in some areas) it is possible. The reality we are seeing for Nottingham is an average 33 Mbps down and 4.6 Mbps up, FTTC/VDSL2 customers average 30.6 Mbps down and 7.8 Mbps up, cable 47.9 Mbps down and 5.7 Mbps up, mobile 11.6 Mbps down and 2.5 Mbps up and finally ADSL2+ 7.1 Mbps and 0.6 Mbps up.

The big driver for getting faster broadband at home will be teenagers and multiple occupancy, since the days of everyone watching the same TV show from a choice of 3 channels are a dream from the 1970's. The shift of BBC Three from broadcast to an online TV channel shows how established online video is as the killer app for broadband and for any home so long as their connection can cope with the viewing habits of the household encouraging them to upgrade to spend more is harder, in fact we have seen a trend of people who have bought the fastest package downgrading to save money once they look at what speeds they actually need rather than what the marketing people say they need. We had expected the BBC Three online shift to cause a big outcry from millions not able to stream it, but beyond the complaints about the change there has been very little in terms of complaints about not being able to watch BBC Three content.


My local area is part of the FTTP trials where average ADSL speed download maxs out at 3Mbps. After 5 years, the majority of properties are still on ADSL.

So potential speed is 300Mbps down but reality shows you cannot get people to change if they cannot see any benefit for the extra outlay.

  • gsmlnx
  • about 1 year ago

why isn't Portsmouth included in the list?

  • rayvinloon
  • about 1 year ago

I suspect that fibre take up is mainly an "age thing". It would interesting to know what percentage of people under 30 use fibre broadband in their homes.

Certainly here in rural West Sussex with a high proportion of elderly people many are still content with under 2Mbps on ADSL.

  • chilting
  • about 1 year ago

From what I understand uSwitch only includes those built up areas where they had 1,000 or more tests.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

chilting, how can anyone be content with 2Mbit... I'd die if I was still on that.

Considering most ages complain about buffering.

  • Danh_Gbwe
  • about 1 year ago

The evidence locally is that many residents are still using ADSL on our West Chiltington exchange at a predicted top speed up to just 8Mbps.
They may moan about the slow speed but for some reason are not switching to FTTC.

  • chilting
  • about 1 year ago


Area I live in is young family biased so I don't think that age is the reason. In fact the opposite seems true as the early adaptors in the area have been the older and longer term households.

  • gsmlnx
  • about 1 year ago

"They may moan about the slow speed but for some reason are not switching to FTTC."
This is because they are totally clueless.

  • ahockings
  • about 1 year ago

"how can anyone be content with 2Mbit... I'd die if I was still on that."
Yeah, this is typical.
I am a self-employed IT person on 1.7Mbps.
No one cares that I may go bankrupt before I can compete.
Yeah don't worry "the Uk", I'll just slowly disintegrate and disappear.
Literally, no one cares....

  • ahockings
  • about 1 year ago

I think you will find it is mainly economics. I'm really fortunate to get 19Mbps from my £7.99 pm ADSL2 connection, and since there is only one of me in this house, that is quite adequate most of the time. I have considered FTTC, which is available, but I'm not yet convinced it would really be worth an extra £13 pm. I am a pensioner, living in a very small rural town, so value is very important when managing my budget. I suspect I am not the only one to evaluate upgrading in this way.

  • PeeCeeBee
  • about 1 year ago

This is exactly the sort of data we need to start seeing more of. I'm tired of seeing 'capable of', 'access to' and 'available' broadband speed comparisons as a measure of success. We need to see what people are actually using and learn why in order to understand how to improve adoption rates.

  • jonwatts
  • about 1 year ago

Looking at the real speeds people get may well account for why many stick to ADSL.

We need to be looking now at a strategy for moving away from the very limited FTTC . Actual speeds are a very long way from the headline speeds advertised and those speeds are also falling

BT has no real strategy for moving away from FTTC and has just dabbled with various ideas most of which have come to nothing

  • Bob_s2
  • about 1 year ago

@jonwatts Recommend then since as well as doing 'availability' we collate all the speed tests people do into various local authority areas and also allow you to drill down to the postcode level.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

One thing not mentioned above regarding tv streaming is that with Virgin, using the TiVo box, this does not use the same capacity as the broadband service. I am currently watching an HD programme on iPlayer and it makes no difference to the measured 155Mbit/s down 10Mbit/s up on a speed test.

  • glasspath
  • about 1 year ago

move house :)

it is using the same capacity (the same as you're sharing with everyone on your street on virgin) when your on virgin your speed is Limited to whatever you pay for the superhub 2 can technically do 400mb

the SS3 can do 800mb on 3.0 mode and at least 1000mb in 3.1 mode when the cab is upgraded in the area

cable is like wifi with lots of channels on a cable (as to why at peak time it norm cannot achieve paid for speeds when to many people are active in your local FTTN cab) but 80-90mb/s is normal for single streams

  • leexgx
  • about 1 year ago

Here you go...

This shows what people are actually getting - with limitations of technology vs distance obvious, and the speed tier vs price obvious too.

As ever, @bob_s2's propaganda is just that. FTTC is a clear improvement over ADSL for almost all. It can provide similar speeds to those being chosen by most VM subscribers, as of 2014, but they do need more.

Planning to take FTTP and G.Fast to 12 million premises is the same amount as VM have reached. Looks like a strategy to me.

  • WWWombat
  • about 1 year ago

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