Rural counties suffer broadband speeds three times slower than nearby cities
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “Counties are great places to live and work, but these figures show that businesses in shire counties and rural areas are being left at a competitive disadvantage.”It cannot be right that in some areas, businesses and residents in a city less than 10 miles down the road from a rural county benefit from average download speeds of more than three times faster.“While the government has announced investment in this area, we remain concerned that digital infrastructure in counties isn’t getting the attention it desperately needs.”The CCN said the figures showed a “lack of investment in digital infrastructure in counties and a continuing ‘bias’ towards cities”. Last year the Government announced that a high-speed broadband connection would be made a legal right for everyone in the UK by 2020. The Telegraph has been campaigning for better broadband for rural businesses and homes to highlight the damage poor internet connection does to rural communities. Broadband speeds in rural areas are up to three times slower than those in neighbouring cities, analysis has found. Statistics published by the county councils network show that more than two-thirds of England’s counties are below the national average download speed of 45mbit/s. In some places rural counties lag significantly behind neighbouring urban areas. For example, in north Yorkshire residents have an average download speed of 30.2mbit/s, compared to York’s average speed of 102mbit/s.The rural county of Ryedale, which includes part of the North York Moors, has average speeds of just 25.8mbit/s, less than a fifth of those experienced in the nearby city. Rural Dorset has average speeds of 26.9mbit/s, less than half those enjoyed in neighbouring Bournemouth, of 61.2mbit/s. The slowest broadband in Britain is in west Devon, the report adds, at just 21.8mbit/s.Ofcom data shows that 91 per cent of homes and businesses in the UK now have access to superfast broadband, defined as 30mbits/s. The network said that all but four of the 79 areas council areas which have speeds below this level are based in non-urban counties. Cllr Philip Atkins, vice-chairman of the county councils network and leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “The government’s commitment to provide superfast broadband to as many areas in England as possible has resulted in some significant steps forward in rural connectivity in the last few years. “Counties like Staffordshire are working with national and local partners to connect hard to reach rural areas and improve broadband connectivity.