Ofcom report highlights shocking broadband inequality between urban and rural areas

24 March 2016

The gap between provision of high speed broadband services in urban and rural areas has been laid bare by an Ofcom report published today.

Average download speeds in urban areas were recorded at 50.5 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than three times those in rural areas, which were measured at 13.7Mbps, according to the report.

The main reasons for this difference were the lower availability of fibre and cable broadband in rural areas and slower average ADSL and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connection speeds, it said.

CLA Director of Policy Christopher Price said: “The report published today by Ofcom shines a light on the shocking inequality in broadband provision – people in rural areas have been suffering for far too long.

“Poor or non-existent broadband puts rural communities at a major disadvantage to competitors in urban areas, and the figures from Ofcom indicate that a massive 75 percent of fixed broadband connections in rural areas are receiving an average actual speed of less than 10Mbps per second. In England and Wales there are more than 600,000 rural businesses, who are also suffering, and this is one of the greatest barriers to growth in rural areas.

“The Government’s commitment to a Universal Service Obligation for broadband of 10Mbps by 2020 is a positive step, but these figures show how far we still have to go to reach this crucial milestone.”

Read the full Ofcom report here.