Starting a business in the UK? You’ll need to know where the slowest and fastest broadband speeds are

Business owners in the Scottish Highlands and Islands experience the worst broadband speeds in the UK

Small businesses based in 11 UK regions have broadband speeds that are slower than the minimum speed recommended by the government, according to data collected by Which?.

The Orkney Islands in Scotland were found to have the lowest average broadband speed in the UK at just 6.3Mbps, some way off the minimum recommended speed of 10Mbps.

The Shetland Islands, Highland, Ryedale, Purbeck, Na h-Eileanan Siar, Powys, West Devon, Eden, Rother and Stirling all follow as regions with unacceptably slower connection speeds – suggesting small businesses in these areas are literally lagging behind.

Other regions, including Canterbury, Suffolk, Sevenoaks and the City of London were found to have average broadband speeds that were classed as low.

Meanwhile, Which?’s data revealed Tamworth, West Midlands, to be the area with the country’s fastest broadband speed at an average of 30.4Mbps, closely followed by Reading, Adur, Enfield, Dundee City and Luton.

Bournemouth, Derby, Belfast, Cambridge and Bristol were also among the regions with a high average speed.

With the internet playing a vital role in small business and start-up operations – powering not only internal functions such as email and phone systems, but also communications with customers and clients, online marketing, social media engagement and e-commerce capabilities – it is vital that aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners research and consider broadband speed before launching in a specific region.

Recognising how the internet impacts the country’s productivity, in the 2017 Spring Budget announcement the government pledged to invest £16m in a new 5G mobile network and £200m to fund local projects building reliable full-fibre broadband networks across the country.

William Newton, EMEA director at WiredScore, commented: “The massive inconsistencies in speeds that can be accessed across the UK highlights why the new government’s re-commitment to improving the UK’s digital national infrastructure was an important early announcement.

“Britain’s digital economy is growing at a tremendous rate, making up a greater percentage of GDP than in any other European nation. But many UK companies still need faster, more reliable, more affordable internet to be able to grow. Innovation is stifled when employees can’t even upload an attachment to an email.”

Unsure where to launch your business? Browse Startups’ detailed guides to over 25 key locations here.

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