Uswitch.com broadband experts have found out if having more options for broadband providers available per region means better internet speeds for households.
The number of broadband providers available per region varies widely. Most people know the big names such as BT, Sky, Virgin Media and Plusnet for example, but there are many small businesses that many may not be aware of.
Greater London has the most choice for broadband with 72 internet providers, while the Western Isles have just five. Greater London also has many more internet providers than the next most populated regions for providers, namely Hampshire with 40, then Surrey with 38.
Although Greater London has almost double that of Surrey, Surrey trumps Greater London in average internet speed achieved, with a typical speed range of 46-206 Mbps.
All of the regions with the most providers are in England. This is in stark contrast to regions with the lowest number of providers, where only two of the bottom 10 are in England. Unfortunately, in the bottom 10, Scotland has six regions and Wales has two.
Regions with the most broadband providers and their average internet speeds:
Regions with the fewest broadband providers and their average internet speeds:
On average, the regions with the most suppliers have a Faster average internet speed of 55.17 Mbpscompared to regions with the fewest providers at 38.65 Mbps.
However, this is not true for all regions. Kingston upon Hull takes the crown with the fastest average internet speed out of 183 regions. Its average speed of 93.49 Mbps cannot be due to its range of providers since the region only has ten. A similar result can be found for East Dunbartonshire and North East Lincolnshire which came second and third for speed results but only have 11 providers each.
The difference with Kingston upon Hull is that it remains independent of BT, with supplier KCOM having a monopoly. KCOM is a broadband and general telephony provider only available in Hull and surrounding areas. It also offers some of the fastest broadband networks in the UK, which is a relief for residents who cannot access the Openreach or Virgin Media networks.
However, having more providers seems to correlate with regions achieving higher peak download speeds. Essex, with its 36 internet providers, achieved the highest download speed of any region, with a whopping 6329.36 Mbps from Virgin Media.
The population of a region also correlates with the number of providers available in the region. Of the ten most populated regions, six are in the top ten for the number of providers. For regions with a million or more inhabitants, they receive an average of 54.2 Mbps against 38.2 Mbps for regions with 100,000 inhabitants or less.
Max Beckett, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, says:
“Broadband is recognized as an essential service, so it can be frustrating when the area you live in has very few options.
“Some hard-to-reach areas have to rely on a limited number of broadband providers, which puts more pressure on that provider to deliver good speeds and reliable performance – which is crucial to meet the current needs of most households.
“The latest Ofcom data shows that more than a third of households can now get full fiber connections, offering speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, so if you’re struggling with slow broadband, check if there are faster plans you can upgrade to.”
5 tips to improve broadband performance
Restart your router – the classic “unplug it, leave it 30 seconds and plug it back in”.
Location, location, location – if your router is further away than necessary, try moving it to the room where you are most active or to the center of your home.
Disconnect unnecessary devices: Turn off Wi-Fi on gadgets you don’t use, even if they’re in a drawer. They may be using bandwidth in the background.
Run a speed test – this will determine if your router works at the speeds you signed up for.
Buy a Wi-Fi extender or ‘booster’ – this will optimize your broadband for faster and stronger connections.