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October 12, 2015

Superfast broadband coverage: UK’s 10 biggest cities ranked

List: London is perhaps not where it should be in superfast broadband coverage.

By Alexander Sword

Broadband is becoming recognised as a fundamental enabler of business, with cities needing a robust and speedy broadband network to get ahead in a fast-paced world. CBR compiled figures from to find out which of the UK’s biggest cities are doing the best in broadband.

1. Bristol

Bristol, which is gunning for a position as another UK tech hub, tops the list with overall superfast coverage of 97.2 percent.

This penetration gives it a download speed of 30.6 Mbps and upload of 5.4 Mbps. Bristol has used its existing infrastructure, a network of ducts built in the 1970s, to roll out fibre at a low cost.

2. Birmingham

The UK’s second largest city comes in at second on the list with superfast coverage of 95.2 percent. Downloads come down the wire at 27.3 Mbps and uploads at 4.8 Mbps.

Birmingham, like several other cities, benefits from the Broadband Connection Vouchers Scheme from Superfast Britain.

3. Liverpool

The birthplace of the Beatles comes in third place, with superfast coverage of 94.8 percent. The download speeds are 28 Mbps and upload are 5.8 Mbps.

Research from Deloitte recently showed that many key businesses in the city were however still reliant on old copper networks.

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4. Bradford

Bradford offers its residents 93.9 percent superfast coverage, allowing downloads at 25 Mbps and uploads at 4.7 Mbps. Bradford businesses also benefit from the Broadband Connection Vouchers Scheme.

5. Leeds

The Yorkshire city has superfast coverage of 93.5 percent. Download speeds are 24.6 Mbps while uploads are 5 Mbps. In July it was announced that Virgin Media would be rolling out its superfast network in the city, while in February Hyperoptic launched its ultrafast network.

6. Edinburgh

The Scottish capital is up to superfast coverage of 93 percent, with download speeds of 27.1 Mbps and upload speeds of 5.1 Mbps.

In September a £5.6m contract with CityFibre was signed to extend fibre to 294 council sites as part of a wider £186m project led by global ICT firm CGI.

7. London

Coming in at an embarrassingly low seventh, London has superfast coverage of 92.6 percent, with upload and download speeds of 26.8 Mbps and 6.9 Mbps respectively.

London’s broadband has received criticism, as it has been seen as inadequate for the capital’s status as a global hub.

8. Manchester

Manchester has superfast speeds of 91.9 percent, with downloads of 21.9 Mbps and uploads of 5.7 Mbps. In September Virgin Media announced it would be bringing ultrafast broadband to 3,000 mainly smaller businesses and start-ups in the Northern Quarter of the city.

9. Glasgow

The largest city in Scotland has superfast broadband coverage of 89.8 percent. Download speeds are 22.7 Mbps and upload speeds are 5.5 Mbps. Hyperoptic launched its gigabit broadband there in September.

10. Sheffield

The fifth-biggest city in the UK has 83.7 percent superfast coverage, and download and upload speeds of 22.6 Mbps and 6.4 Mbps respectively. Take-up of connection vouchers has apparently been good, as Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey visited in July to warn that they were running out.


Superfast is defined as speeds exceeding 24 Mbps. Upload and download figures are based on mean speeds. All figures valid as of Q3 2015. Figures for Bristol were calculated from averages across the major constituencies in the city.

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