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Blighty's slow-crawling broadband streets revealed

Live in Halesworth if you wanna party like it's 1999

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Dial-up speeds of 56Kbit/s may be a thing of the past for many UK residents, but some people throughout the land remain saddled with painfully slow internet connections, courtesy of their local broadband infrastructure.

New research published by uSwitch has crowned a Suffolk town as having the slowest average download broadband speed (0.128Mbit/s) in Blighty.

Halesworth came out on top of a list that recorded speeds submitted by 1.5 million visitors to the uSwitch website between March and August this year.

The price-comparison site used its own tech to carry out the tests, so the results should arguably be approached with some caution.

Virgin Media has previously complained about comparison sites that offer ISP speed checks, arguing that the methods used were often flawed.

Mount Pleasant in Halesworth, Suffolk, recorded an average download speed that was 147 times slower than Leamington Spa – the UK's fastest town (18.86Mbit/s), according to the research.

Halesworth proved to be 53 times slower than the national average, added uSwitch, which calculated that anyone in Mount Pleasant attempting to download, say, a 700MB movie from the interwebs should bring a mountain of popcorn and expect about a 12-hour wait.

But it wasn't just rural areas that suffered tortoise-like broadband connectivity.

uSwitch also pinpointed that England's southern counties – particularly West Sussex and Hampshire – performed very badly indeed.

In the town of Horsham, for example, uSwitch estimated that a single music track of, say, 5MB, would take about five minutes to download with the average broadband speed in that area hitting a paltry 0.134Mbit/s.

Streets in Glasgow, Greater London, Manchester and Birmingham also recorded crappy broadband download speeds.

“While many areas of the country are already benefiting from the considerable investment into super-fast fibre optic networks, our research highlights the plight of households at the other end of the spectrum, struggling with download speeds so poor that in some cases it can hardly be considered a broadband service at all," said uSwitch spokesman Ernest Doku.

"What is particularly interesting is that many of the streets that feature in the list aren’t in the far-flung countryside, but rather in more urban areas, nearer to exchanges and where we would expect to see higher download speeds across the board," he added.

“While broadband providers have been committed to upgrading broadband infrastructure as a priority, for some areas these improvements can’t come soon enough. Being stuck in the slow lane is a frustrating situation, with many of us now considering broadband to be an essential service." ®

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