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Broadband map reveals Suffolk town as the slowest in Britain

Halesworth may boast the slowest download speed but the problem is widespread across the country, says new research

The website for Halesworth, a Suffolk market town known for brewing and malting, boasts that it gives local people “the advantages of the new millennium, while secure in the roots of the past”. When it comes to broadband, however, some residents are still stuck in the last century.

Halesworth’s Mount Pleasant has topped the list of Britain’s 50 slowest streets for broadband. With an average of 0.128 megabytes a second, its residents must wait for 48 hours to finish downloading a film. A two-and-a-half minute song takes an hour and a half to transfer.

Slow broadband is not confined to rural locations. Streets in Glasgow, Southampton and Chislehurst in Greater London all feature in the top 50, according to the price comparison site uSwitch, which compiled the list by speed-testing 1.5m streets between March and August this year, using technology on its own website.

“Many of the streets on the list aren’t in the far-flung countryside, but rather in more urban areas, nearer to exchanges and where we would expect to see higher download speeds across the board,” said uSwitch technology expert Ernest Doku.

England’s southern counties perform particularly badly, with West Sussex and Hampshire accounting for a quarter of the UK’s 20 slowest locations. Faraday Avenue in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, may be named after the inventor of the electric motor, but it has the fourth worst broadband, with a speed of 0.182Mbps.

The average speed is 6.8Mbps, but not one street on the list has a speed over half a megabyte – the 50th is Bloomsfield in Burwell, Cambridge, with 0.454Mbps.

By comparison, residents of Britain’s fastest town, Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, enjoy average speeds of nearly 19Mbps. They can download a song in two seconds and a full-length feature film takes five minutes.

Doku added: “While many areas of the country are already benefiting from the considerable investment into super-fast fibre-optic networks, our research highlights the plight of households at the other end of the spectrum, struggling with download speeds so poor that in some cases it can hardly be considered a broadband service at all.”

He advises customers to check their speeds regularly to make sure they are getting the best package for their area and change providers if they are badly served.

Those looking for instant internet gratification could move to Herne Hill or Morden in London, Kidderminster in Worcestershire or North Shields, which all feature among the 10 fastest locations in the UK.

*The full list is on the Guardian website

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