Scottish village named UK’s fastest place for broadband speeds in new annual study

28/09/2023
  • Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire has the fastest average broadband speeds in the UK, as revealed in the first annual Broadband Genie Speed Index[1]
  • Analysis of over 250,000 speed tests saw the Renfrewshire village top the charts, recording an average speed of 409Mb[1]
  • It’s not all bonnie news though, as the Highlands village of Halkirk is the slowest area in the study with speeds of just 2.8Mb[1]
  • Canterbury in the South East of England is the slowest city overall, while 32 cities fall below the 69.4Mb average speed for the UK as a whole, including Dunfermline (64.9Mb), Stirling (59.8Mb) Aberdeen (58.3Mb), Perth (54.2Mb) and Inverness (53.6Mb)[1] 
  • Elsewhere in the UK, Belfast is the zippiest capital with typical speeds of 152Mb, over 50% faster than Edinburgh, London and Cardiff[1]
  • To fight back against dawdling broadband, Broadband Genie urges households to check their internet and complain if it falls short of the guaranteed speeds for their address.

BLISTERING internet speeds have seen a small village in Renfrewshire crowned the UK’s fastest place for broadband, according to an analysis of 265,572 consumer speed tests by comparison site Broadband Genie.

Lochwinnoch was found to have average speeds of 409Mb, more than 100Mb faster than the runner-up Monmouth in Wales, which recorded typical speeds of 271Mb. Western Scotland was also named the UK’s fastest broadband region, with its average speeds of 110Mb, nearly nine times as fast as its slowest – the 13Mb rates experienced by families living in the Isles of Scilly[1].

The study wasn’t all good news for Scotland, however, with Halkirk in the Scottish Highlands revealed to receive average speeds of just 2.8Mb, the slowest in the UK overall[1].

It means typical broadband in the village is even slower than outdated 3G mobile data speed, and not enough to watch Netflix reliably[1][2][3]. It is also barely a quarter of the 10Mb speed that the UK regulator Ofcom says is the minimum “decent” connection homes and businesses should receive, enabling multiple users to browse the internet and use streaming services[4].

Top five slowest places for broadband in Scotland

RankPlaceCountyAverage speed (Mb)
1HalkirkCaithness2.8
2LockerbieDumfries and Galloway6.5
3LaurencekirkKincardineshire12.3
4JedburghRoxburghshire13.2
5KirkcudbrightDumfries and Galloway16.1

Top five fastest places for broadband in Scotland

RankPlaceCountyAverage speed (Mb)
1LochwinnochRenfrewshire409.2
2BonnyriggMidlothian149.5
3BishoptonRenfrewshire147.2
4Port GlasgowInverclyde132.7
5KirklistonCity of Edinburgh128.9

Slowest areas for broadband in the UK

RankPlaceCountyAverage speed (Mb)
1HalkirkCaithness2.8
2LockerbieDumfries and Galloway6.5
3RingwoodHampshire6.8
4LonghopeGloucestershire12
5LaurencekirkKincardineshire12.3

Fastest areas for broadband in the UK

RankPlaceCountyAverage speed (Mb)
1LochwinnochRenfrewshire409.2
2MonmouthMonmouthshire270.5
3PudseyWest Yorkshire241.6
4WoolerNorthumberland225.1
5MiddlewichCheshire223

Elsewhere in the UK, the city of Canterbury in Kent has been found to have the slowest speeds of any cities in the country. The historic city, famous for its cathedral, clocked in with average download speeds of 34Mb, around the bare minimum offered by many basic superfast packages[1]. Despite being one of the most expensive UK cities to live in, Canterbury currently lacks access to the fastest cable internet offered by Virgin Media[5][6].

When it comes to UK capitals, Belfast has the broadband bragging rights. Typical download speeds for households in the Northern Irish city are 152Mb – nearly twice those of the Welsh capital, Cardiff (79Mb), 76% faster than London (87Mb) and 58% more than Edinburgh (96Mb)[1].

Despite topping the overall city speed rankings, Belfast is one of the most affordable places to live in the UK, with typical house prices of £158,000, about five times the city’s average salary[7]. Derry, Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, also combined strong connectivity with relatively low property prices, ranking fourth for urban broadband speeds.

The analysis revealed that 32 cities across the UK fall below the 69.4Mb average speed recorded by Ofcom, including the cities of Dunfermline, Stirling, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness[8]. This could be the result of poor or faulty infrastructure, a lack of awareness from consumers on speeds available in their area, or an unwillingness to pay to upgrade.

Broadband Genie is advising households to use a speed test to check their broadband performance is up to scratch. If it is not delivering the speeds you are paying for, it is time to take action.

Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, comments: “Scotland is at both ends of the spectrum when it comes to its broadband, with both the fastest and slowest areas of the UK found within its borders. 

“Our data clearly shows the country has made huge strides in upgrading its connectivity, and residents in Lochwinnoch are now leading the way. However there is still plenty of work to do in getting the north of Scotland up to speed. Bridging this digital divide is key. No broadband customer should accept a sub-par service, least of all in a year when we have seen record price increases in the industry.

“Most of Britain’s biggest providers sign up to Ofcom’s Broadband Speeds Code of Practice. This means they have to be clear about the speeds you should expect at your address, including a guaranteed minimum they must keep above.

“Speed tests are a useful tool for regularly monitoring the performance you are receiving. If they are falling short of what has been promised, contact your provider and raise the issue.

“Poor broadband speeds can also be influenced by factors outside of your provider’s control, so make sure you check these first. Poor home wiring or a poorly positioned or faulty router could be dragging your Wi-Fi down.

“Residents in the slowest towns and cities may also be suffering unnecessarily, with faster speeds available in their area if they switch. If you are out of contract and looking to upgrade your broadband, do a quick comparison online to see the best deals on offer. You may even end up paying less for a better and faster service.”

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