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A Third of UK Constituencies Struggle with Slow Broadband

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More than one in three constituencies in the UK currently struggle with slow broadband speeds or poor 4G services, according to Which?.

Research from the consumer watchdog found that 236 UK constituencies, or 36% of the 650 across the country, have poor broadband services and ‘patchy’ 4G data coverage. Broadband services were measured by the proportion of properties that had access to at least 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds. And if more than 1% of a constituency’s outdoor premises couldn’t get a signal from all four mobile networks, then it was deemed to have poor 4G coverage.  

“For far too long, people have felt cut off and struggled to pay bills or receive important calls and messages because of poor mobile and broadband connections,” said Caroline Normand, director of advocacy at Which?.

“The next government must finally deliver the strategy needed to connect the whole of the UK with the comprehensive digital infrastructure that communities urgently need while ensuring that consumers have a choice of providers so that they can see real improvements.”

This report comes just days ahead of the General Election on December 12, with both parties setting out their own plans for the UK broadband sector. The Conservative Party has pledged to give access to gigabit broadband to the whole country by 2025 and to invest £1 billion in improving mobile coverage. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has said it will nationalise BT’s Openreach and offer free full-fibre broadband to every home by 2030.

“The next government must ensure that mobile coverage is brought up to the level consumers desire,” said Which?. “Without an overarching vision for both fixed and mobile services shared by government, Ofcom and industry, and a cohesive strategy in which roles, responsibilities and timescales are clearly defined, many people will still risk losing out on the benefits of good quality connections.”

Richard Tang, founder and chairman of broadband provider Zen Internet, said: “For too long, broadband connectivity has been a major issue for all around the UK and users particularly affected should rightfully feel aggrieved,” said Richard Tang, founder and chairman of broadband provider Zen Internet.  “No matter who occupies 10 Downing Street at the end of next week, the government must deliver in paving the way for world-leading connectivity and ensure this is a priority moving forward.

“This includes addressing issues now including the taxation of fibre cables, the ease of laying infrastructure and tackling a national skills shortage. These are critical ingredients for the success of the UK economy in an era where fast, reliable, robust connectivity is an absolute must and something everyone in the country deserves access to.”

Fergus Cole
Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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