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Scottish Regions Rank Worst In Broadband Speed Study

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Orkney, Shetland and Highland have come in at the bottom of Which? rankings for average broadband speeds in local council areas across the UK

Three Scottish local authority areas – Orkney, Shetland and Highland – have ranked worst in a new study of broadband speeds by consumer organisation Which?

Tamworth, just outside Birmingham, followed by Reading and Adur, on the south coast near Brighton, had the fastest speeds, the group said.

Slow Scottish speeds

It based the rankings on the average speeds recorded in 389 areas by Speed Checker Ltd from January to March 2017.

Dundee City, on Scotland’s east coast between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, was the only Scottish area ranked in the top 10, at number 5, with 28.7 Mbit/s.
Edinburgh, capital city of Scotland
Which? found the Orkney Islands off Scotland’s north-east coast had average speeds of 6.3 Megabits/sec, which it called “shocking” compared to top-ranked Tamworth’s average speeds of 30.4 Mbit/s, nearly five times faster.

The Shetland Islands, to the north-east of Orkney, came in at 8.4 Mbit/s and Highland, which includes a broad mainland area of northern Scotland, ranked at 8.8 Mbit/s.

The Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, off Scotland’s west coast, ranked sixth worst at 9.1 Mbit/s, and the Scottish Borders were the 28th slowest at 12 Mbit/s.

Which? said it was concerning that so many areas fell short of the 10Mbps minimum download speed proposed under the government’s Universal Service Obligation (USO), regarded as the lowest speed necessary for the typical usage of a family or small business.

Ryedale in Yorkshire, Purbeck outside of Poole, West Devon and Powys in central Wales all fell below the 10Mbps minimum.

Fibre boost

Fifth-place Dundee offers Scotland’s fastest speeds, and is followed by Luton, North East Lincolnshire, Merton, Elmbridge and Broxbourne.

Glasgow ranked 193rd with 17.1 Mbit/s on average, and Edinburgh came in at 264th with 19.4 Mbit/s.

Arran Scotland fishing boat castle Scotland © Richard Bowden ShutterstockWhich? managing director of home services Alex Neill said the rankings show more needs to be done to improve broadband speeds, particularly in Scotland.

“Far too many households across Scotland are suffering from slow broadband speeds, which can stop you being able to carry out essential daily tasks,” he said.

The Scottish government said the region’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme is on track to deliver fibre broadband access to at least 95 percent of premises by the end of this year.

“Audit Scotland and Ofcom have reviewed the programme and concluded that we are on track to meet our targets, with more premises than expected able to access superfast speeds,” stated Fergus Ewing, the Scottish cabinet secretary for connectivity.

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