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The Slowest Cities in the UK 2023


Ever wondered which city or area in the UK has the slowest or fastest broadband? You’re in the right place! Broadband Genie has analysed over 250,000 speed tests from across the country to find out which is the slowest city in the UK for 2023.

Currently, superfast broadband (30Mb and over) is available to 97% of the country, more than half of UK homes have access to full fibre services, and gigabit-capable broadband is available to 75%. However, these numbers drop significantly for rural areas.

Canterbury is the UK’s slowest city

The historic city, famous for its cathedral, clocked average speeds of 34Mb. This is around the bare minimum offered by many basic superfast packages.

Our analysis also revealed that 32 cities across the UK fall below the 69.4Mb average speed recorded by the regulator, Ofcom. This could be the result of poor or faulty infrastructure, a lack of awareness from consumers on speeds available in their area, or an unwillingness to pay to upgrade.

Top five slowest cities for broadband in the UK

Rank City County Average speed (Mb)
1 Canterbury Kent 34.3
2 Ripon North Yorkshire 39.9
3 Chester Cheshire 43.6
4 Carlisle Cumbria 46
5 Worcester Worcestershire 46.9

Belfast is the UK’s fastest city

When it comes to UK capitals, Belfast definitely has the broadband bragging rights. Typical speeds for households in the Northern Irish city come in at 152Mb - nearly twice the speed of the Welsh capital, Cardiff (79Mb), 76% faster than London (87Mb) and 58% more than Edinburgh (96Mb).

Top five fastest cities for broadband in the UK

Rank City County Average speed (Mb)
1 Belfast


2 Portsmouth Hampshire 122
3 Milton Keyne Buckinghamshire 117.2
4 Derry Derry 114.9
5 Plymouth Devon 109.5

Halkirk in the Scottish Highlands is the UK’s slowest area for broadband speed

The village of Halkirk in the Scottish Highlands has been named the UK’s slowest broadband area, with residents receiving average speeds of just 2.8Mb, slower than you’d receive with 3G mobile data. This is even slower than outdated 3G mobile data speed, and not enough to watch Netflix.

Slowest areas for broadband in the UK

Rank Place County Average speed (Mb)
1 Halkirk Caithness 2.8
2 Lockerbie

Dumfries and Galloway

3 Ringwood Hampshire 6.8
4 Longhope Gloucestershire 12
5 Laurencekirk Kincardineshire 12.3

Lochwinnoch in the Lowlands of Scotland is the fastest area for broadband speed

Meanwhile, on the other side of Scotland, Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire enjoys the fastest broadband speeds in the UK, with an impressive average of 409Mb per household.

Western Scotland is also the UK’s fastest broadband region, with average speeds of 110Mb, nearly nine times as fast as the slowest region - the Isles of Scilly, where locals average download speeds of 13Mb.

Fastest areas for broadband in the UK

Rank Place County Average speed (Mb)
1 Lochwinnoch Renfrewshire 409.2
2 Monmouth Monmouthshire 270.5
3 Pudsey West Yorkshire 241.6
4 Wooler Northumberland 225.1
5 Middlewich Cheshire 223

How is broadband speed measured?

Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second (‘Mbps’ or ‘Mb’). In terms of data storage, a megabit is 1/8th the size of a megabyte. This means a 1Mb connection will be able to transfer 1MB (megabyte) of data in eight seconds.

How can I test my broadband speed?

You can test your broadband connection for free with our broadband speed test. For the most accurate results, pause other activity on the connection. If you're using a laptop or computer, connect to your router using an ethernet cable.

Run tests at different times of the day, as peak times can affect the performance of your connection. It’s also best to use a variety of broadband speed tests to get the best picture of your connection.

What is a good broadband speed?

This depends on what you need your broadband for, as a household demand will vary depending on who and how many people are living there. We recommend the following as a rough minimum requirement.

Household size Minimum speed (Mb)
1 person 30Mb
Up to 3 people 30-50Mb
Up to 5 people 50-100Mb

5 or more people


These are our recommendations based on the speed required if everyone in the house is streaming a video in HD at the same time. Faster speeds can offer a better experience.

If anyone in your household carries out more data-demanding activities, such as gaming or frequently downloading or uploading hefty files, it’s likely you’ll need a fibre broadband package or an ultrafast broadband deal.

How can I improve my broadband speed?

If your broadband speed is lower than you were expecting, or if you’re regularly experiencing slower speeds than your provider advertised when you signed your contract, here are some quick fixes you can try:

  • Check your provider's online service status or get in contact with their technical support. There could be an issue with your line that they may be able to fix remotely.
  • Reboot your router (turn it off and on again) or any boosters or power line networks. It’s an IT cliché for a reason!
  • Reposition your router in the middle of your home to improve Wi-Fi signal or use Wi-Fi boosters.
  • Change your domain name system or DNS server.
  • Switch your Wi-Fi channel or frequency from 2.4GHz to 5GHz.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date and regularly scan and secure your Wi-Fi router with a harder to crack password.

If your broadband speed is within the estimates your provider gave you, it may be time for an upgrade to a faster connection. You can contact your provider to see what options there are, or you can compare and shop for broadband deals in your area here.

  • Methodology

    We took the average broadband speed at postcode level from 265,572 speeds tests from 2022.

    To qualify and be to included in the study, postcodes must have the following criteria:

    • A minimum of three speed tests from three unique IP addresses.
    • The test is from a commerical internet service provider.
    • The test is from a fixed-line internet connection.
    • At least 10 residential properties required at a postcode.

    Speed tests were measured using the Broadband.co.uk speed test.

    Titanic file size is based on 11.59GB through the Microsoft Store.

    Download time was calculated using the Broadband Genie broadband download time and speed calculator.

Meet the author:

Broadband Expert

Alex came on board in October 2016 and in that time has risen to Broadband Genie’s resident broadband expert. For the last 7 years, he has appeared all over the UK press, giving expert advice about anything and everything related to broadband.

Specialist subject: Fighting the consumer's corner on all things broadband.

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