Since we revamped our flash speed tester back in February 2013 we have been tracking various statistics from it, but have held off of publishing every minute little bit of detail until we were happy that the data looked reasonable.

This blog post shows two useful ways for tracking the progress of the UK and its different areas, i.e. what percentage of postcodes we see in our tests are appearing as superfast and at the other end of the scale what percentage at getting 2 Mbps or slower. We have things set up so that we can now track these metrics over time and while take-up of superfast services will lag behind availability it will be very interesting as the BDUK projects push coverage further, since broadband campaigners have persistently pushed the idea that the further out from the large cities the greater the demand for fast services.

Different areas of UK and Superfast Take-up

There are a number of areas with lots of work to do since we did not see a superfast speed test in the first quarter of 2014 and these are Sir Ceredigion – Ceredigion,  Merthyr Tydfil. Powys, Shetland Islands, Western Isles, Orkney Islands, Argyll and Bute. The chart above does not show all 207 areas of the UK where we had enough data to be confident enough to plot the data, simply because there was not space to name them all.

Looking forward it is salient to remember that the UK Government target is 90% of the UK with the option of a superfast broadband connection (definitions flip between 24 Mbps and 30 Mbps – but we use the higher EU definition) and this target cares little about whether a property is semi-urban or rural. The devil of the beast which is almost totally ignored by the wider press is that with a gap funded model where minimal risk is a primary goal the more densely populated areas missed during the commercial roll-outs are going to be first to be helped by the BDUK process, simply because the level of gap funding should be less than a small village of 300 spread across three cabinets. The end result of this preference for the semi-rural means that while we expect to see a general uplift of this superfast statistic we still expect the counties considered more rural to be on the wrong end of the chart.

Tracking 2 Mbps USC Progress

To avoid any confusion those areas on the left of the above chart are doing well, and those on the right have a lot of work to do. We are aware that people use our speed test when having problems, so there will always be some tests done over a bad wireless segment, this is why we do not automatically plot these statistics but wait until we can sift through them.

The Universal Service Commitment target of everyone having a 2 Mbps or faster connection is clearly still an area that needs work and to the annoyance of many campaigners the BDUK projects are concentrating on the superfast target rather than uplifting everyone to 2 Mbps first. Financially and in terms of network build this may make sense, but as every month passes a 2 Mbps connection becomes more and more of a dinosaur.

We sincerely hope that this 2 Mbps or slower plot will flatten out and due to the vagaries of peoples own hardware it will never be totally zero, tracking this graph over the year couple of years will help to provide a guide as to which areas have taken the task of ensuring everyone has access to a 2 Mbps or better connection. While it seems strange, take-up will still be a factor in this graph, since counties may offer a better service but people who only use their connection for an hour or two a month to do very basic stuff like banking may not see the worth in upgrading from their 0.5 Mbps service to a much faster connection, particularly if there is a £10 per month increase in cost.

The ten areas we believe with the most work to do meet the 2 Mbps Universal Service Commitment are:

  • Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles)
  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Islands
  • Sir Ceredigion
  • Argyll and Bute
  • Powys
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Sir Ceredigion – Ceredigion
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Moray

What is very interesting is that while Wales is often at the bottom of the speed tables, it is possible that we are already seeing some of the effects of the BDUK and Welsh Assembly work in Wales, since Conwy is second best with only 3% of tests at 2 Mbps or slower and 36.6% of speed tests were at superfast speeds in the County and a healthy median download speed of 20.3 Mbps (upload median 2 Mbps).

To ensure no one is left out below is the full table that was used to generate the above two images. Ordered by the percentage of tests that hit and exceeded the 30 Mbps barrier.

County, London Borough or Unitary Authority Percentage with speeds of 2 Mbps or slower Percentage of tests seen that qualify as Superfast (>=30 Mbps)
Barking and Dagenham London Boro (lbo) 6.870229 48.0916
Kingston upon Thames London Boro (lbo) 3.174603 46.8254
Telford and Wrekin (B) (uta) 5.494505 46.15385
Hartlepool (B) (uta) 7.317073 43.90244
Bromley London Boro (lbo) 6.884058 43.47826
Bracknell Forest (B) (uta) 8.387097 43.22581
South Tyneside District (B) (mtd) 7.352941 42.64706
City of Leicester (B) (uta) 2.846975 41.63701
Redcar and Cleveland (B) (uta) 12 41.6
City of Derby (B) (uta) 8.444444 41.33333
Luton (B) (uta) 9.090909 41.25874
Thurrock (B) (uta) 9.401709 41.02564
Medway (B) (uta) 8.849558 40.70796
Wokingham (B) (uta) 7.920792 40.59406
West Dunbartonshire (uta) 5.333333 40
Walsall District (B) (mtd) 6.842105 40
City of Portsmouth (B) (uta) 4.320988 39.50617
Reading (B) (uta) 4.848485 39.39394
Newham London Boro (lbo) 7.177033 39.23445
North Lanarkshire (uta) 10.03717 39.03346
Caerdydd – Cardiff (uta) 8.459215 38.97281
Croydon London Boro (lbo) 6.051873 38.61671
Tameside District (B) (mtd) 7.172996 38.39662
Southend-on-Sea (B) (uta) 4.945055 37.91209
Sunderland District (B) (mtd) 9.252669 37.72242
Enfield London Boro (lbo) 5.309735 37.61062
Slough (B) (uta) 9.6 37.6
Wandsworth London Boro (lbo) 6.343284 37.31343
Greenwich London Boro (lbo) 4.020101 37.18593
Sutton London Boro (lbo) 5.05618 37.07865
Birmingham District (B) (mtd) 5.285118 36.99583
Merton London Boro (lbo) 3.508772 36.84211
Falkirk (uta) 7.482993 36.73469
City of Plymouth (B) (uta) 5.797101 36.71498
Dundee City (uta) 2.985075 36.56716
Hounslow London Boro (lbo) 5.405405 36.48649
City of Nottingham (B) (uta) 7.792208 36.36364
The City of Brighton and Hove (B) (uta) 4.804805 36.33634
Hillingdon London Boro (lbo) 4.867257 36.28319
East Dunbartonshire (uta) 7.692308 36.26374
Salford District (B) (mtd) 5.333333 36
Islington London Boro (lbo) 5.825243 35.92233
Hertfordshire County (cty) 8.456486 35.87849
Solihull District (B) (mtd) 7.070707 35.85859
Bolton District (B) (mtd) 6.397306 35.69024
Rochdale District (B) (mtd) 8.653846 35.57692
Darlington (B) (uta) 8.602151 35.48387
Bournemouth (B) (uta) 5.555556 35.35354
Stockport District (B) (mtd) 5.079365 35.2381
Trafford District (B) (mtd) 4.564315 34.85477
City of Bristol (B) (uta) 4.545455 34.75936
West Lothian (uta) 6.074766 34.57944
Stockton-on-Tees (B) (uta) 12.31527 34.48276
Nottinghamshire County (cty) 8.707124 34.43272
Haringey London Boro (lbo) 4.972376 34.25414
Sandwell District (B) (mtd) 4.812834 34.2246
Surrey County (cty) 7.072042 34.03833
Bradford District (B) (mtd) 5.289673 34.00504
Liverpool District (B) (mtd) 5.029586 33.72781
Havering London Boro (lbo) 7.109005 33.64929
Harrow London Boro (lbo) 5.579399 33.47639
Warrington (B) (uta) 8.064516 33.46774
City of Southampton (B) (uta) 4.942966 33.46008
Wigan District (B) (mtd) 4.181185 33.44948
Kensington and Chelsea London Boro (lbo) 7.407407 33.33333
Middlesbrough (B) (uta) 8.130081 33.33333
Lambeth London Boro (lbo) 6.976744 33.22259
Coventry District (B) (mtd) 6.428571 33.21429
Renfrewshire (uta) 8.988764 33.14607
Oldham District (B) (mtd) 9.82659 32.94798
Newcastle upon Tyne District (B) (mtd) 5.813953 32.94574
Knowsley District (B) (mtd) 8.62069 32.75862
North East Lincolnshire (B) (uta) 6.034483 32.75862
Milton Keynes (B) (uta) 7.945205 32.60274
North Tyneside District (B) (mtd) 4.054054 32.43243
South Gloucestershire (uta) 9.65251 32.43243
Waltham Forest London Boro (lbo) 6.832298 32.29814
Casnewydd – Newport (uta) 8.90411 32.19178
Redbridge London Boro (lbo) 6.410256 32.05128
Hammersmith and Fulham London Boro (lbo) 5.521472 31.90184
Bath and North East Somerset (uta) 9.504132 31.81818
Manchester District (B) (mtd) 8.388521 31.78808
City of Stoke-on-Trent (B) (uta) 8.196721 31.55738
Blackburn with Darwen (B) (uta) 8 31.33333
East Renfrewshire (uta) 6.024096 31.3253
Hampshire County (cty) 8.319375 31.26745
Abertawe – Swansea (uta) 6.19469 30.97345
City of Edinburgh (uta) 4.305284 30.91977
Ealing London Boro (lbo) 6.270627 30.36304
Richmond upon Thames London Boro (lbo) 5.581395 30.23256
Lewisham London Boro (lbo) 7.8125 30.07813
Camden London Boro (lbo) 5.154639 29.89691
Torbay (B) (uta) 6.410256 29.48718
Doncaster District (B) (mtd) 8.609272 29.4702
Cheshire East (B) (uta) 8.284024 29.38856
Swindon (B) (uta) 5.504587 29.3578
UNKNOWN 11.05481 29.29526
Brent London Boro (lbo) 9.125475 29.27757
Leeds District (B) (mtd) 9.766162 29.16094
South Lanarkshire (uta) 12.23776 29.02098
Hackney London Boro (lbo) 6.010929 28.96175
City of Peterborough (B) (uta) 8.629442 28.93401
Halton (B) (uta) 11.85185 28.88889
Staffordshire County (cty) 9.452202 28.78625
Barnet London Boro (lbo) 5.555556 28.7037
Bro Morgannwg – the Vale of Glamorgan (uta) 8.391608 28.67133
Poole (B) (uta) 5.945946 28.64865
Leicestershire County (cty) 9.324324 28.64865
St. Helens District (B) (mtd) 12.5 28.47222
Sefton District (B) (mtd) 7.166124 28.33876
Kirklees District (B) (mtd) 11.47959 28.31633
Kent County (cty) 9.378961 28.20025
Wirral District (B) (mtd) 6.070288 28.11502
West Sussex County (cty) 9.125118 28.03387
Buckinghamshire County (cty) 9.104704 27.92109
Northamptonshire County (cty) 10.92105 27.76316
Fife (uta) 6.277056 27.70563
City of Wolverhampton District (B) (mtd) 7.567568 27.56757
Bury District (B) (mtd) 5.21327 27.48815
Bedford (B) (uta) 13.45029 27.48538
Inverclyde (uta) 7.792208 27.27273
Bexley London Boro (lbo) 8.383234 26.94611
Windsor and Maidenhead (B) (uta) 10.61453 26.81564
Essex County (cty) 9.142053 26.6526
Wakefield District (B) (mtd) 8.641975 26.54321
Central Bedfordshire (uta) 12.04013 26.4214
Oxfordshire County (cty) 12.125 26.25
Cambridgeshire County (cty) 10.83123 26.19647
Glasgow City (uta) 7.724426 26.09603
Sheffield District (B) (mtd) 9.437751 25.90361
Blaenau Gwent – Blaenau Gwent (uta) 8.064516 25.80645
Suffolk County (cty) 16.52542 25.74153
Rhondda Cynon Taf – Rhondda Cynon Taf (uta) 13.30275 25.68807
Castell-nedd Port Talbot – Neath Port Talbot (uta) 8.849558 25.66372
Southwark London Boro (lbo) 9.574468 25.53191
Warwickshire County (cty) 14.86928 25.3268
Gateshead District (B) (mtd) 8.860759 25.31646
North Yorkshire County (cty) 10.29225 25.2859
Dudley District (B) (mtd) 9.375 25
Rotherham District (B) (mtd) 8.301887 24.90566
Worcestershire County (cty) 11.73104 24.8927
York (B) (uta) 8.403361 24.78992
Blackpool (B) (uta) 6.666667 24.66667
Lancashire County (cty) 7.94702 24.42973
North Lincolnshire (B) (uta) 17.1123 24.06417
Aberdeen City (uta) 13.60759 23.73418
Barnsley District (B) (mtd) 9.793814 23.71134
West Berkshire (uta) 10.85973 23.52941
Tower Hamlets London Boro (lbo) 9.876543 23.04527
Calderdale District (B) (mtd) 17.2093 22.32558
North Somerset (uta) 10.90909 22.18182
Midlothian (uta) 17.69912 22.12389
Derbyshire County (cty) 10.49031 21.89282
Gwynedd – Gwynedd (uta) 16.09195 21.83908
Caerffili – Caerphilly (uta) 16.09195 21.26437
East Ayrshire (uta) 15.83333 20.83333
Cornwall (uta) 14.22709 20.65663
Rutland (uta) 9.52381 20.63492
Gloucestershire County (cty) 13.10616 20.57667
County Durham (uta) 9.814815 20.37037
Isle of Wight (uta) 8.235294 20
East Sussex County (cty) 10.67821 19.76912
Wiltshire (uta) 15.82609 19.47826
City of Westminster London Boro (lbo) 7.335907 19.30502
Dorset County (cty) 13.3218 19.20415
Tor-faen – Torfaen (uta) 12.76596 19.14894
Cheshire West and Chester (B) (uta) 10.84337 18.55422
Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr – Bridgend (uta) 13.69863 18.49315
Wrecsam – Wrexham (uta) 11.25 18.125
Norfolk County (cty) 13.99444 17.42354
City of Kingston upon Hull (B) (uta) 6.451613 17.2043
County of Herefordshire (uta) 20.08547 17.09402
East Riding of Yorkshire (uta) 11.96013 16.94352
South Ayrshire (uta) 11.6129 16.77419
City and County of the City of London (lbo) 11.90476 16.66667
Somerset County (cty) 14.22156 16.16766
Clackmannanshire (uta) 19.35484 16.12903
Sir y Fflint – Flintshire (uta) 14.05405 15.67568
Cumbria County (cty) 14.63768 15.50725
Northumberland (uta) 13.85681 15.24249
Shropshire (uta) 13.64985 15.13353
Stirling (uta) 12.63158 14.73684
Angus (uta) 13.67521 14.52991
Lincolnshire County (cty) 19.69817 14.45592
Perth and Kinross (uta) 22.66667 13.33333
Devon County (cty) 15.30214 13.15789
North Ayrshire (uta) 10.45752 13.0719
Sir Fynwy – Monmouthshire (uta) 12.8 12.8
Highland (uta) 16.61891 10.31519
East Lothian (uta) 5.357143 9.821429
Sir Ddinbych – Denbighshire (uta) 13.7931 9.482759
Sir Gaerfyrddin – Carmarthenshire (uta) 26.74419 8.139535
Aberdeenshire (uta) 19.18819 7.749077
Dumfries and Galloway (uta) 19.02174 7.608696
Scottish Borders (uta) 15.03759 7.518797
Sir Ynys Mon – Isle of Anglesey (uta) 23.14815 6.481481
Moray (uta) 26.12613 6.306306
Sir Benfro – Pembrokeshire (uta) 26.49007 4.635762
Conwy – Conwy (uta) 14.92537 4.477612
Merthyr Tudful – Merthyr Tydfil (uta) 11.76471 0
Powys – Powys (uta) 30 0
Shetland Islands (uta) 36.36364 0
Na h-Eileanan an Iar (uta) 54.54545 0
Orkney Islands (uta) 38.77551 0
Argyll and Bute (uta) 31.63265 0
Sir Ceredigion – Ceredigion (uta) 33.67347 0

As always we welcome feedback, particularly about whether people feel there are other metrics we should try to track. Our aim with these metrics is to try and help keep the politicians honest and add information into a debate that is all too often full of emotion rather than cold data.

June 2014 – we have just re-published the large table and images, since it seems we managed to transpose the results at some point, meaning some entries were in the wrong order. Thanks to those who questioned the figures for one or two areas and we double checked the data trail to find this mistake.

7 Responses

  1. ian on 12 May 2014

    Pembrokeshire….13% >30Mbps ??

    Could these be wireless providers or schools , i can find 2 about 20 Mbps download tests in areas where there is only ADSL1 linking to virgin media.

    The first exchange in Pembrokeshire has only just been upgraded to fibre

    • andrew on 12 May 2014

      Looking at a few postcodes Haverfordwest crops up for FTTC providers and dates fit with the couple of live cabinets. There was also a little fixed wireless AirBand I believe. It is a big improvement on the previous quarter, so maybe part of the improvements kicking in and one of the first things you do with the new service is run a speed test.

      Also looks like one person may have been causing trouble, unless flying between places in a fast helicopter. The joy of crowd sourcing and will now have to work on an additional algorithm.

  2. Kit on 05 Jun 2014

    Not surprised at Ceredigion as it had no FTTC or Virgin when this was done, but surprised at Powys as it to had no FTTC or Virgin, could the fast tests be 4g?

    However surprised at Anglesey as BDUK has covered many of the exchanges so it shouldn’t be that low. (More like Gwynedd). People have said takeup has been low in the area, even though coverage appears good.

    Conwy being high ( Virgin but no FTTC) explains why the assembly has not pushed for BDUK rollout so far.

    Look forward to seeing the changes as more people take it up.

    • andrew on 05 Jun 2014

      Thanks Kit, went back and double checked and looked like had mangled the ordering for some areas and have updated the table and graphics now.

      So yes Powys is not doing well, hopefully once the Welsh project kicks in it will move into the middle of Wales.

      • kit on 06 Jun 2014

        Nice to have been of help, Ceredigion should come off the bottom now Aberystwth has been done ( Can’t see any fast tests yet). Likewise Merthyr as they have started the Town which covers most of the population (here there are already fast tests appearing).

  3. chas on 06 Jul 2014

    Angela Burns A.M. for Pembs. has received an undertaking from B.T. that expected to happen “by December’ from the Tenby & Saundersfoot exchanges. It would appear that Pembs. C.C. has covertly had Fibre Optic cables installed to all he schools over a year ago.

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