City among slowest for broadband speeds in London


In news that won’t come as a surprise to anybody who has tried to stream Netflix within the Square Mile, the City of London is among the slowest boroughs in London for broadband speed, according to new research.

Broadband speeds reach just 13.4mbps in the City, a study from consumer association Which? has found, which is well below the national average of 17mbps.

The figures were taken from an average of speeds reported by internet users in each local authority from January to March of this year, so they show the real service customers are dealing with and not just the maximum available speeds.

Neighbouring boroughs fared even worse, with Southwark named the slowest in London for broadband speed at just 10.4mbps, inching above the 10mbps minimum recommended speed for families under the Government Universal Service Obligation. Westminster and Lambeth were only marginally better at 12.9mbps and 13.2mbps respectively.

But even they pale in comparison with the nation’s slowest spots, the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, and Highland in Scotland ranked the worst three areas in the UK for broadband speeds.

Ryedale in Yorkshire and Purbeck in Dorset were also included in the bottom five, with the average recorded test in all those locations falling below 10mbps.

Which? managing director of home services, Alex Neill, said: “Far too many households across the UK are suffering from slow broadband speeds which can stop you being able to carry out essential daily tasks.”

She added the figures would “help to further highlight where problem areas are across the UK, putting pressure on government and providers to help everyone get a good broadband connection.”

But things could already be looking up for City workers and residents, with the City of London Corporation this year announcing major investments in the broadband network, including affordable high-speed internet service plans for housing estates and a free, public access WiFi network.

In February the Corporation announced plans to expand fibre optic broadband within its 12 central housing estates – including Golden Lane and Middlesex Street – delivering high-speed low-cost plans for more than 7,500 residents.

And in April it launched a deal with Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure to deliver a free, public access WiFi network, offering internet access anywhere within the Square Mile.

The multi-million pound deal is one of the largest investments in wireless infrastructure in London and will deliver wireless services across all mobile networks in conjunction with O2.

CTIL will build 4G mobile “small cells”, which will be housed on City street furniture such as lamp posts, street signs, buildings and CCTV columns to provide enhanced mobile coverage at street level.

At the time of the project’s launch, former Corporation policy chief Mark Boleat said: “Free, reliable, high-speed wireless internet is a must for any modern, competitive financial centre.

“This project should ensure that wireless ‘black spots’ in the Square Mile become a thing of the past.” The infrastructure is designed to facilitate the City’s early adoption of 5G, which is expected to become available in 2020.