The 10 best and worst areas for broadband speed

map of UK with magnifying glass

Cranbrook in Kent is the slowest area in the UK for internet broadband, according to research from uSwitch.

The speed is five times slower than the national average and more than 14 times slower than Leamington Spa – the UK's fastest town.

The average speed in Cranbrook is 1.32Mb - this means it would take 45 minutes to download a music album and 12 hours for a film.

Next worst on the list is Tregaron in Ceredigion in Wales with a speed of 1.48Mb – four and a half times slower than the national average. Third bottom is Lavant in Sussex with an average speed of 1.65Mb.

King's Lynn in Norwich, Basingstoke in Hampshire and Lowestoft in Suffolk also featured in the list of the bottom 10 areas.

The speedsters

On the other end of the scale Leamington Spa in Warwickshire has the fastest broadband speed of 18.86Mb with Welling in Greater London second with a speed of 18.42Mb and Herne Hill in London third with a speed of 17.89Mb.

This compares to an average speed in the UK of 6.8Mb, according to Ofcom.

Kent and Sussex were the country's two worst counties and geographically the North fared much better with over half of the top 20 worst areas in the South of England.

The research is based on data from 400,000 tests conducted between May and July this year.

Ernest Doku, spokesperson at, says the research is black and white evidence that thousands of homes are making do with download speeds well below the national average.

 "Fast broadband speeds should be available to everyone, not just for those people living in heavily urbanised areas. These latest figures highlight that, despite considerable investment, many areas of the UK are still living in the broadband dark ages.
"Intense competition among broadband providers means that companies such as BT and Virgin Media are rolling out super-fast fibre optic networks as a priority.

"We hope that this will convert into faster broadband for people in every area of the UK, whether urban or rural — and however low the population," he adds.


The Moneywise broadband campaign

Last year Moneywise began its faster and better broadband campaign to call on providers, Ofcom and the government to stop dragging their feet and start making improvements to broadband speeds. 

Providers are promising super-fast next-generation services to urban areas but today's research shows they're still ignoring the fact that high speed broadband is still a requirement for rural Britain.

If you're worried about the speed you're receiving make sure you check out our guide on five ways to improve your broadband speed.

The top 10 slowest broadband areas

Location                                   Ave Download Speed (Mb)

Cranbrook, Kent                        1.32Mb
Tregaron, Ceredigion, Wales     1.48Mb
Lavant, Chichester, Sussex       1.65Mb
Charlton Down, Dorset              1.69Mb
Malvern, Worcestershire            1.79Mb
Oswestry, Shropshire                 1.81Mb
King’s Lynn, Norfolk                   1.82Mb
Lowestoft, Suffolk                       1.82Mb
Basingstoke, Hampshire            1.94Mb
Nuneaton, Warwickshire            1.95Mb

The top 10 fastest broadband areas

Location                                           Ave Download Speed (Mb)

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire             18.86Mb
Welling, Greater London                       18.42Mb
Herne Hill, London                                17.89Mb
Kidderminster, Worcestershire              17.36Mb
Northwich, Cheshire                              17.21Mb
North Shields, Newcastle-upon-Tyne    16.98Mb
Oldbury, Worcestershire                        16.92Mb
Broxbourne, Hertfordshire                    16.69Mb
Morden, Greater London                       16.58Mb
Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire             16.37Mb


Your Comments

I live in Cranbrook Kent, I recently changed provider because of my slow speeds, but it is is now even worse! I do not understand why, as according to research the exchange is not congested.

We can only achieve 0.7MB near Kingsclere in Hampshire and see no possibility of any improvement.

1.32mb? Luxury. Up here in Scotland, just outside of Inverness, we have a blistering 0.75mb. We're with Virgin Media - can't wait for that super fast optical service. Mind you, probably grow old and die before that appears!

This study must have averaged out the speeds over large areas

Where I live, on the east side of Milton Keynes, everyone gets less then the 1.32 quoted above as the lowest download speed. It is painfully slow.

However, the west side of the town has just had 'fibre to the premises' (FTTP) installed. Their super-fast connections bring the average for the town as a whole up to respectable levels.

Just tested connection in Falmouth, Cornwall. Download speed 1.61 MBs

They did not test Lumsden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
we only get about 1Mb

What you state 45 minutes to download an Album? How did you calculate that? That statistic seems very off.

I see that neither list includes any places in Scotland. Does this mean that everywhere in Scotland is getting average speeds or is it because the research wasn't for the whole of the UK, just England and Wales?

I live in Scotland and get very slow speeds. Any research for us?

hi, i am in essex not to far from stansted airport and i get around 1,2 mb and it frequently drops out i think due to the age condition of the phone lines here

Amazingly, eight of the worst ten are faster than people in my area (Mansfield Woodhouse) routinely experience, however, as Virgin Media have a large presence here, BT appear to do very little about the poor broadband speed. This, despite the fact that I live on a new development which Virgin Media are apparently not allowed to access.

I rely on broadband for work as I dial into computers around the country. It is disappointing when dialling into a client's PC on the coast of Scotland that their connection is three times faster than mine.

Is Scotland not part of Britain?

They should try some towns & villages in North Cumbria. I'd love to get 1.3Mb, I get 0.5Mb at home...

the broadband speed @ de4 2np is so slow i cannot even see one of your video's, as viewing i-player i have no chance at all.
my average speed is 368kbs.

This a question rather than a comment.
Did your survey exclude Scotland?

By "Rural Britain" do you mean England as Scotland is not mentioned.
Here in North East Fife (halfway between Dundee and St Andrews) we are only getting 0.5Mb as we are about 4 miles from our telephone exchange.

Happy to report that here in Kirkcaldy I receive nothing less than 20MB but normally nearer 30Mb from Virgin

Why did you not include Scotland?

I dream of having scottish internet speed. I live in Luton, which is a large town near london, but unfortunately I am with orange broadband, which peaks at 12k. And the QoS is terrible - more than 99% of packets sent by my computer are immediatley dropped when they hit orange's switches. My friend gets faster internet off his phone!

I live in North Shields and my download speed at best from O2 is 5Mb. Normally I get 3Mb but when school kids get home it often reduces to 12 Kb. How is that for service? No way you get 16.98Mb up North!

What company does the research??? Here in Gomersal,Cleckheaton we are lucky if we get .60mb.Come on Moneywise, get your facts right. You may loose your credibility.

Living in a rural village near Fishguard, West Wales. Used to have speeds of 0.5mb, having been boosted to 1.25mb later on. I'm essentially paying for a 20mb connection, which is not correctly justified for most users with lower speeds, who deserve cheaper prices.

We people at Bow, Tower Hamlets were given promises by BT to get the fibre optic broadband by 31 Dec 2010, it didn't happen. It changed to 31 March 2011, middle of March, they changed it again. Again, It changed to 30 June 2011, middle of June, they changed it again. Now it's showing on BT Infinity site that "When you can get it: 30-September-2011".

BT is funded by tax payers money. They can't keep their commitment right. BT's employees are fattened by our hard earned money and they are having their monopoly.

I'm in Falmouth Cornwall too 14.2 down - 05 up

and when is Ofcom going to pull its finger out of its own backside and do something like regulate instead of sitting on its own elbow and producing nothing but stats

In this part of Sussex I get a download speed of 0.38mb.
A neighbour of mine, who is an electronic engineer and a super wiz with computers, has managed with numerous tweaks to get his download up to 0.5mb.
Not very good and apparently not going to change.
Welcome to the Third World!

Strange survey (not just OFCOMs). Here in Eversley we too average 0.7 mbs with any upgrade fading into the distance because of BT's stranglehold and positioning plays.

I live in Whitworth (2.84 kilometers) from our rochdale exchange.
Max speed of 0.4MB. And yet if I was on the Whitworth exchange
I would be getting a whopping 6.5MB. how do they justify this. And I'm paying more than I would be if I had the faster speed. Very silly

I live in Kings Lynn 1.82Mb is now the norm, two years ago I used to get 3Mb. I'm not even on the outskirts.

I was sold a 24meg package on talktalk. sadly only 2.5miles ascrow flies from main exchange in Shrewsbury i get 2.75megs. All these companies are meaking millions of pounds profits selling us the british population a service that is not fit for purpose. Any home that recieves its phone signal via hard wired lines from telegraph poles stands no chance unless they are within half mile of the exchange ...the only way forward is cable or fibre optic but they dont give a shit and are happy to give us substandard service while raking in the cash. Not enough investment in this country for BT a worn out company living from equipment on average over 50 years old ...we stand no chanceI watch the paint dry on the wall now its speedier than my download speed.

Grange Park, Northampton has a max download speed of 0.5 MB, less than half the speed in Cranbrook.

When contacted, British Telecom representatives claimed that the low bandwidth in the area was due to two factors - the distance (4.1km) from the exchange in Hardingstone and, apparently, because the estate is provided with fibre optic lines and very little copper. As the exchange is not equipped to handle fibre (I was actually told at first that broadband cannot run over fibre - yes, seriously, someone claimed that), allegedly we get terrible speeds.

There is no cable franchise available on this estate, either. Sigh.

I live in a village called Checkley in Herefordshire - 40 of the 57 homes can't get broadband and have to use dial-up, satellite or just don't bother. The exchange is 9km (line length) form my home and we get less then 0.1Mb on dial up, an broadband ASDL modem doesn't work!

Good lord, my mother lives in Lavant (3rd worse) and she would be over the damn moon to get 1.65mb. At best she may get 0.50 MBPS (i'm really not exagerating here either).

She sits 3 miles geographically from the Chichester exchange. However, with line length, that's more like 8 to 10 miles. West Sussex is having £6m invested under the govt scheme, so with any luck this will improve.

And no, cable is not an option as although the trunk routes were laid years ago, Virgin (or NTL at the time) were not allowed to lay to the homes (certain politicians not agreeing/getting enough cash!!). Now it's not finacially desirable for Virgin to dig up the roads and try again.

We are in a village 4 miles from Basingstoke in Hampshire, have no cable and no fibre optic. I am 1 mile from the local exchange.

I just did the ZDNET test and return 6.129Mb.

I guess averages will always be just that and say nothing of the range of speeds achieved.

I live in St Albans - 20 miles North of London.

Recently signed up to BT Infinity on a guarantee that I would get 28mb but currently average 12mb. Originally received 20mb but BT Vision wouldn't work. They got Vision to work and P.C speed then dropped to 12mb where it remains. Last week BT Help Desk told me the problem resolution was the responsibility of Open Reach. Open Reach Engineer called and didn't have a clue as to what the problem was and changed the modem just to show he had done something, no speed improvement. I have since tried to have BT reduce my bill pro rata - nothing doing!!

By the way, the BT Help Desk is an absolute joke.

Unless you work from home and can spend the time on the telephone with these people then I recommend you try someone else.

I am lucky if I get 0.5!

The modern age - still a dream BUT I pay the same as others.

I tried to download a 1 hour programme on BBC iplayer - 8 hours 24 mins!

I'm from Lowestoft and get 3.5 Mbs which is considered pretty good for this area. I'm guessing these surveys must be an average between people on cable and people on overhead lines.Hopefully things will get better otherwise I'm moving to Korea :-)

They cannot have tried broadband in Cumbria. In Askam-in-Furness if you achieve 1mb it must be between 2 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. Tea time onwards it is not much faster than my old modem 56k modem. Downloading MS updates is a complete nightmare. The record was two days to download one program. It must have cost more than purchasing the disc inc. p.&p.

sutton's pretty slow, and where we are we get dropouts too whoever your provider is

Try Aberdeen Technical Services. They can give you stellite broadband up to 10Mb

Dont know if this registered first time but Aberdeen Technical Services offer satellite broadband which gives up to 10Mb depending on the package! They will also demonstrate locally

Until moving recently from Innerleithen,  my nominal broadband speed was 0.5 Mbs   The village of Cardrona had similar speeds. Kent certainly does not have the slowest speed..

I got BT Infinity 18 months ago here in the northeast part of Dorset. My 'phone service comes from Fordingbridge, in Hampshire 2 miles east from me.  I started with blistering speeds but they've dropped back & a test just now tells me I'm getting 36 Mbps down & 8 up. There's a noticable slow-down in the evening however.  I thought these speeds were bad until I read what others here get.
The fact that the government is giving millions of £s of our taxpayers money to crooked bankers instead of dealing with the modern neccesity of decent broadband speeds that would benefit us ALL, is what I want to know ?