City falling behind on Broadband

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WEB users in Sheffield are failing to make the most of some of the fastest internet speeds in the country, according to the latest figures from independent price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com.

The £90 million-plus Digital Region superfast broadband network offers download speeds of 40Mb a second across 84 per cent of South Yorkshire, yet most Sheffielders use less than a fifth of that potential and make do with services that provide average speeds of less than 7.9 Mb a second.

That leaves Sheffield 40th out of 50 UK towns and cities with the highest populations, according to uSwitch, although the city is only just outside the top 10 when it comes to the growth in the average speed people in the city are using.

USwitch says its research was based on more than 800,000 speed tests conducted by home and business broadband users in the last six months, more than 15,000 of whom were in Sheffield.

The company says one reason for the city’s low position in the table may be that higher speeds have not been available for that long and may not be used by many people.

“Our survey does not examine what is claimed to be available, but what people are actually experiencing,” added uSwitch.

A spokesman for Digital Region said: “The survey illustrates the importance of the Digital Region network for our region – but it isn’t quite the full picture.

“Superfast broadband from Digital Region is up to five times faster than the speeds quoted in this survey, and approximately six times faster than the UK average, as reported by Ofcom.

“The survey does show that already, average Sheffield broadband speeds have increased by 12.7 per cent since last year.

“This will increase further as more people say goodbye to slow broadband and hello to next generation services, choosing download speeds of around 40Mbps from Digital Region to make their homes and businesses more efficient.”