The 10 largest rural areas and their broadband coverage - updated
Our last major round up of the differences in rural and urban broadband coverage was back in February and we are taking a slightly different angle this time. We are going to list the levels of coverage for the 10 local authorities that have the largest number of rural premises.
The reference points to judge these 10 areas on is that as of 27th May the urban level of superfast coverage in Great Britain is 98.4% (an increase of 0.2 percentage points in 3 months) and in the rural segment this drops to 87% (an increase of 0.6).
The trigger for this latest round-up is the launch of an inquiry into rural broadband and digital only services by The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. Submissions can be made until 24th June 2019.
thinkbroadband analysis of broadband coverage in the 10 largest rural areas in Great Britain
Figures only count premises in postcodes identified as rural by ONS
|Rural Area||% full and partial fibre based |
i.e. VDSL2, G.fast or
30 Mbps or faster
100 Mbps or faster
FTTP, cable, G.fast
Full Fibre All Providers
|% Under 2 Mbps download||% Under 10 Mbps download||% Below USO|
10 Mbps download
1 Mbps upload
ADSL2+ does not count as USO compliant
|Norfolk 232,757 premises||96.7%||86.7%||2.1%||1.8%||2%||6.5%||7.4%|
|Devon 205,830 premises||94.4%||83.7%||7.4%||4.8%||3.2%
|Kent 195,278 premises||97.5%||84.9%||13.9%||7.8%||1.7%||6.9%||7%|
|Essex 180,819 premises||92.6%||83.4%||12.7%||5.6%||1.6%||7.1%||10.8%|
|Cornwall 167,094 premises||97.8%||88.1%||27.8%||27.4%||1.4%||4.7%||5.2%|
|North Yorkshire 164,129 premises||97%||84.7%||7.3%||6.1%||4.2%||9.3%||9.7%|
|Lincolnshire 161,923 premises||98.1%||85.2%||12.9%||3%||3.8%||8.3%||8.3%|
|Cambridgeshire 145,383 premises||99.5%||94%||37.4%||10.9%||1.2%||2.9%||2.9%|
|Hampshire 143,138 premises||95.7%||83.9%||20.4%||8.9%||2.3%||7.4%||9.1%|
|Suffolk 142,799 premises||98.3%||88.1%||5.4%||4.3%||1.6%||5%||5.4%|
The above figures are of course just a snapshot of where things were on 25th May, so it is worth looking at the long term trends of how superfast coverage has changed in rural and urban Great Britain since 2012.
The chart shows that while overall in Great Britain rural areas have improved massively there is a slowing down in the pace of improvement and a lot of this is due to the increasing shift from VDSL2 as the prime technology to using lots more full fibre. The question is whether the current increase each year will continue or will it flatten out totally by 2021.
The broadband USO may help some of those currently still suffering under 10 Mbps speeds reach superfast speeds but a lot depends on the technology used for each USO request but there will also be those who receive USO help and only get speed improvements to 15 or 20 Mbps and thus be reliant on how the Government handles the 100% full fibre ambition by 2033.
The shift to digital services is perhaps most acutely felt by rural business and as we have the figures here is a quick summary of the business premises levels of superfast coverage in the same ten local authorities:
- Norfolk rural business 78.5%
- Devon 82.7%
- Kent 70.4%
- Essex 68.6%
- Cornwall 84.5%
- North Yorkshire 77.3%
- Lincolnshire 75.3%
- Cambridgeshire 77.5%
- Hampshire 63.2%
- Suffolk 79%
Not sure much more needs to be said beyond compare the business figures with the aggregate residential and business figures and you can see that business premises have it harder in terms of affordable superfast broadband connections.
Update Wednesday 29th May: We have had people ask what the figures are like in terms of the numbers without access to superfast rather than percentages and across Great Britain in the urban areas there 367,200 premises without a 30 Mbps or faster broadband option and in the rural areas for the same criteria it is 812,268 premises.