It’s official: Shropshire broadband is among the worst in England

Broadband access in Shropshire remains among the worst in the country, official figures revealed today. About 14 per cent of households in Shropshire Council’s area are still unable to get access to 10mbps broadband speeds. It is a figure surpassed only by neighbouring Herefordshire and Kingston-Upon-Hull among counties in England.

Around seven per cent of homes in the county are unable to access 5mpbs connections, while about three per cent can’t even get 2mbps. The Connected Nations report from Ofcom describes 10mbps as the internet speed that is “required to meet a typical household’s digital needs”. Telford & Wrekin performs better, but around six per cent of households are still not meeting the basic figure.

This is close to the national average of five per cent of properties. Powys performed worse than Shropshire, with 27 per cent of properties missing out on 10mbps speeds, and just over seven per cent managing 2mbps. Steve Unger, Ofcom’s chief technology officer, said: “Mobile and broadband coverage continued to grow this year, but too many people and businesses are still struggling for a good service.

We think that is unacceptable.” Shropshire Council said it is currently inviting bids for the next phase of its Connecting Shropshire programme, which is intended to roll out superfast speeds to 16,000 premises using ?11.7 million of public funding. The study also looked into the average speed of broadband and superfast broadband in urban and rural areas, which shows “superfast” speeds in Shropshire are well behind those in other areas.

Rural areas on standard broadband receive an average speed of 8mbps, and people in towns with standard connections can expect 13mbps on average. That is typical of other areas, but superfast speeds in the county are at the bottom end of authorities in the Midlands. Anyone in a rural area with a superfast connection can expect speeds of 50 mbps – only Sandwell in the West Midlands performs worse – while the 56 mbps achieved with superfast broadband in towns is better than only Herefordshire and Rutland among 24 local authorities strung across the Midlands.

Speeds in Telford & Wrekin are better, with standard speeds of 9mbps in rural areas and 13bps in towns, and superfast connections in urban areas of 79mbps. Rural areas in Telford & Wrekin have the third fastest speeds in the Midlands, clocking in at 76 mbps. Fibre broadband infrastructure now reaches 84 per cent of premises in England, Ofcom said, but warned that figure masks significantly lower figures in rural areas.

In Powys, average standard speeds clock in at 8mbps and 14mbps in rural and urban areas respectively, with superfast speeds of 50mbps in rural areas and 53mbps in towns.

BT last month said progress was being made in the county, revealing the number of properties linked to new fibre broadband networks has doubled in two years.

It claims in the last 12 months, around 15,000 have opted for an upgrade – nearly 300 new fibre broadband users a week.

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