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Living in the middle of a big city? Your broadband may still be crap

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Living in a city centre is no guarantee of nimble broadband speeds in Blighty, as download rates are a postcode lottery.

A new study by uSwitch revealed that folks living in the Barbican area of London have internet connections as slow as 5.3Mbps, while users in Charlton in Greenwich are zipping along four times as fast with speeds of 22.46Mbps.

The problem is the same in Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol and Northampton, where fastest and slowest internet are streets apart. Folks in Perry Barr, Great Barr and Hamstead in Birmingham are speedily surfing at 20.9Mbps, while just a mile and a half away in Castle Vale, average speeds are only 2.2Mbps.

"At this speed it would take 11 excruciating hours to download a BluRay film," uSwitch pointed out.

In Glasgow, broadband users in Milton and Possilpark are getting swift speeds of 20.5Mbps, but six miles away in Easterhouse, Provanhall and Rogerfield, the pace is significantly slower at 2.98Mbps.

The price-comparision website uses its own broadband testing tech to figure out average speeds, so a pinch of salt is potentially needed with its results. ISPs have previously complained that websites offering speed checks often use methods that are flawed.

uSwitch telecoms expert Marie-Louise Abretti said in a canned statement that though an Ofcom report recently said that the country's average broadband had increased by a third in the last year, the increase is obviously not the same for all users.

However, she does point out that some of the discrepancies come from the devices and routers used to get online, and how they're positioned around the house or flat.

"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," she said, referring to home broadband gear's ability to propagate Wi-Fi signals.

"If you’re still stuck suffering from slow or inconsistent speeds, check to see what service you could be getting with another provider. Signing up to a fibre service is a sure fire way of speeding up your broadband – and almost two thirds of the country now has this option.

"However, many consumers either don’t know about it or are put off by the price. It may cost you more, but could be worth it, especially as several providers have great introductory offers at the moment." ®

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