Northamptonshire is ranked fourth worst in UK for unequal broadband

A router connected to a broadband-enabled socket
A router connected to a broadband-enabled socket

A new report has named areas in Northamptonshire as among those “stuck in the slow lane”, with huge discrepancies in the county’s broadband speeds.

The independent price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com compared different broadband speeds across the 30 biggest British towns and cities. Large variations were revealed in the consumer speed test data, with Birmingham ranking top for speed inconsistency at a difference of 89 per cent between the fastest and slowest areas.

Kingsthorpe (NN2) was revealed to be the fastest broadband of the areas surveyed in Northamptonshire, averaging speeds of 17.78 Mbps (megabytes per second), while NN7 - which includes Whiston, Grendon and Lower End - ranked as the slowest, with speeds of just 3.93 Mbps.

This means there is a difference of 78 per cent between the fastest and slowest of the broadband speeds recorded in the county, despite the two areas only being around eight miles apart.

Wellingborough and Wilby (NN8) was the third fastest of the areas studied in the county, with speeds of 16.196 Mbps.

The 900,000 speed tests revealed that the most central postcode districts were rarely the fastest.

Even Kingsthorpe’s top broadband speed does not impress on a national level, with 15 out of the 30 towns tested registering speeds of 19Mbps or above.

Earlier this month, Northamptonshire County Council signed a £16.2 million deal with BT to roll out superfast broadband across the county, meaning that by 2015 basic broadband should be available to all, with 53,000 homes and businesses due to reach speeds of at least 25Mbps.

At the same time, Ofcom released research claiming that the average broadband speed in the UK was now 12Mbps, rising a third from last year.

Marie-Louise Abretti, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Despite the Government’s intense focus on superfast speeds, this data reveals massive inconsistencies, with speeds fluctuating dramatically between areas located just a few miles apart. Although a recent Ofcom report revealed that the UK’s average broadband speed has increased by a third in the last year, our data suggests that this isn’t the whole picture.”

Many of the areas surveyed are able to receive superfast broadband. However, although 65 per cent of UK households are now able to benefit from the service, many remain either unaware of or concerned about the cost of fibre optic broabdband.

Ms Abretti added: “If you suffer from sluggish broadband, it could be because of the device you’re using to get online with or your router. You could also try boosting your speed by plugging in instead of surfing wirelessly.

“Even where your router is located can make a difference – try to keep it off the floor and away from TV monitors, stereo speakers and halogen lights. If you’re still stuck suffering from slow or inconsistent speeds, check to see what service you could be getting with another provider.”