Broadband speed gaps exposed in north

Manchester city centre's average broadband speed is a superfast 60Mb, while less than 15 miles away in the town of Bolton it's about 90% lower at just 6.5Mb.

Broadband speeds in parts of northern England can vary by as much as 90% between urban areas just a few miles apart, according to new research.

A study by financial services firm Deloitte, which looked at average broadband speeds in towns and cities around the north west, found Manchester city centre had typical speeds of around 60Mb, reports business news website Bdaily.

In Bolton, a large town less than 15 miles away, the average speed was 6.5Mb, almost 90% lower - and half the UK average, according to regulator Ofcom - while in Warrington, around 20 miles from Manchester, average speeds were just 6.2Mb.

The place with the slowest broadband of all was found to be the rural South Lakes area of Cumbria, where speeds were on average 3.9Mb.

Jodi Birkett, from Deloitte, said homes and businesses in the north west are "playing a lottery" in terms of getting fast broadband.

"What we're seeing is a lack of consistency. Infrastructure isn't just about roads and rail, it's about connectivity too. Broadband has become something all businesses completely rely on, so it should be right at the top of the priority list."

Elsewhere in the region, the small city of Preston had an average speed of 41Mb, Birkenhead in Merseyside had 30Mb on average and for nearby Haydock it was 26.5Mb.

In April, research by networking specialist Akamai suggested the average UK broadband speed could be as low as 6.5Mb, although communications regulator Ofcom puts the figure at 12Mb for fixed-line home broadband connections.

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