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What UK city has the fastest broadband?

fast internet on computer and phone

If you want to know what UK city has the fastest broadband you’ve come to the right place. In this report, we will share all the juicy details about broadband speeds in the UK’s 16 largest cities. The results are not what you expect and guaranteed to surprise you. We’ll also give you top tips about finding the right network provider for your area.


Fastest broadband: UK cities compared

If you’re looking for the fastest broadband, UK providers and location will make a huge difference. This isn’t surprising in itself but what you may not expect is the degree of quality you could experience as a result of choosing one provider over another.

The latest study by RootMetrics, exposes the cities in the UK with the slowest mobile broadband speeds versus the fastest. RootMetrics is a company that provides mobile performance insight and monitors networks’ standards.

In this report, they compare figures across the 16 most populous cities in the UK. They calculated each city’s broadband speed by aggregating the median download speeds recorded by EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

Drumroll please....here are the cities that have the highest download speeds, in order:

  1. Birmingham
  2. Liverpool
  3. Manchester
  4. Glasgow
  5. Coventry
  6. Bristol
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Hull
  9. London
  10. Nottingham
  11. Leicester
  12. Cardiff
  13. Belfast
  14. Leeds and Bradford
  15. Sheffield
  16. Newcastle

Congratulations to Birmingham and its residents who experience the fastest mobile broadband speeds in the UK. This surely is a coveted honour in a time when we all want the fastest speeds possible and avoid the dreaded spinning wheel. At the other end of the scale sits Newcastle, who of the largest cities, has slower speeds than the rest.

Let’s analyse the top three cities in relation to the four providers used in the study. This will allow us to see if there are any patterns around top-performing providers and if you’re in one of these cities you may end up wanting to switch provider.

  1. In Birmingham, EE registered staggering average speeds of 51.6Mbps which helped bring it into the lead. Vodafone came in 2nd here at 38.4Mbps. However, all four of the providers surveyed (including Three and O2) increased their average speeds since the last report.
  2. In Liverpool, we see a similar pattern in terms of market leaders. EE and Vodafone were the strongest networks with average median download speeds of around 40Mbps.
  3. In Manchester, which came in third place, EE and Vodafone were again the highest performers with average speeds of around 43Mbps.

As you can see, EE is a very strong provider in all of the top-ranking cities and Vodafone also performs well. However, we would like to point out that even within these cities, each network’s speed will vary between neighbourhoods.

It’s not uncommon that someone living in the town centre will have great broadband, while another person living 20 miles away will have terrible broadband with the same provider or vice versa. You’ve probably visited a friend’s home where you can never seem to get reception.

There are always some black holes in each provider’s network. There are many factors that contribute to this, e.g. new buildings being erected that weaken the signal strength. We always recommend checking one of the many free coverage maps before moving house and choosing a new provider. Even if you’re just going 5 miles up the road, it could make all the difference.

What are the UK’s fastest broadband speeds?

You already know which cities in the UK have the fastest broadband speeds. Now we’re going to go into more detail and provide the average download speed per city and list the population of each city.

Ranking by speed City Download speed (Mbps) Population
1 Birmingham 28.9 2,357,100
2 Liverpool 28.8 1,365,900
3 Manchester 26.7 2,600,100
4 Glasgow 26.7 1,747,100
5 Coventry 25.3 651,000
6 Bristol 25.2 1,006,600
7 Edinburgh 24.6 787,7001
8 Hull 24.5 573,300
9 London 24.1 11,917,000
10 Nottingham 23.6 825,600
11 Leicester 23.2 772,400
12 Cardiff 21.7 841,600
13 Belfast 21.6 641,638
14 Leeds and Bradford 20.7 2,393,300
15 Sheffield 20.7 1,277,100
16 Newcastle 20.1 1,055,600

As you can see, the difference in average speeds from the fastest to slowest is by more than 8Mbps. Something else that jumps out is that Coventry, while smaller than London by far, has faster speeds. Not only that, but the report also states that all four network operators have strong average download speeds in Coventry.

We often hear people complain that they have slower broadband speeds because they live in a smaller city and everyone loves to think that London is blessed with super-fast internet. This isn’t the case though.

If you live in a rural area it’s likely that speeds will be slightly lower, but amongst the cities, it’s really down to the provider. As you can see from the table, Hull is the smallest city but also has faster speeds than London.

In fact, the two cities with the biggest increase in speeds were Birmingham and Hull. Since the last report, Birmingham saw an increase in average speeds of 4.2Mbps and Hull went up by 3.6Mbps. The increase in Hull’s speeds was helped significantly by EE’s scores. EE are the shining stars in Hull and its speeds jumped from 36.8Mbps to 51.2Mbps.

The report comes out twice a year and as you can see from EE’s change in speeds in Hull, the differences can be noticeable. We will be back with an analysis of the next report when it’s out.

If you’re not getting fast broadband speeds, give us a call on 02039 360059. We can help you choose the right provider and plan for you. One of our experts will guide you through the process of switching and give you all the information you need in the space of a call.

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