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Left trailing by slow-speed connection to the Internet
EVERYONE wants a fast broadband connection but Oxford is lagging behind in a new survey of Internet download speeds.
The city ranks 23rd in a study of the UK’s 50 biggest cities and towns by comparison site uSwitch.com.
The average download speed for web surfers in Oxford is 17.4 megabytes per second (mbps) — below the Government target ‘superfast’ download speed of at least 24mbps.
Yasir Hanif, owner of Yasai Computers, in Cinnaminta Road, off The Slade, said more money needed to be spent to make sure city residents and businesses did not miss out.
He said: “It does affect everybody. One way or the other, we all depend on those broadband speeds.”
Mr Hanif said residents were spending money on top-of-the-range computer equipment but not getting the broadband speeds needed to make full use of it.
And he added that money needed to be better spent to improve phone lines to increase speeds, adding: “To be honest, I don’t think it is being well spent right now.
“I hardly ever see someone who is happy about the money we’re putting into this infrastructure.”
The new research shows connection speeds in Oxford have increased 45 per cent on the average of 12.04mbps last year. Yet almost a quarter – 24 per cent – of Oxford households and businesses get less than 3mbps.
The study found the country’s lowest speed was 10mbps in Hull and the fastest was Telford in Shropshire with 23mbps. The average speed across Britain is 14.5mbps.
Marie-Louise Abretti, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said browsers were ignoring faster speeds, because of lack of awareness and high prices.
She said: “If people don’t actually use super-fast broadband, because it’s too expensive, or they don’t know they can get it, then what’s the point?”
Last month Oxford City Council announced a £4.83m broadband boost for the city.
The authority will spend £1.5m of the Government cash on wi-fi hotspots, while £3.1m will go to help businesses with up to 250 employees connect to superfast broadband.The grant also includes £230,000 to put wi-fi on buses.
City council leader Bob Price has said the scheme is crucial for many small firms relying on a speedy Internet connection for business expansion.
He blamed the city’s poor connection speeds on the Government, for not having a coherent broadband policy.
He said: “The Government has not woken up and realised in the 21st century we need a secure and fast connection.
“It has been a huge handicap for businesses.”
Oxfordshire County Council unveiled a £25m plan to boost broadband speeds in the county in August.
The scheme, in partnership with BT, aims to bring a minimum speed of 24mbps to 90 per cent of county homes and firms by the end of 2015.
- To check your broadband speed, see uswitch.com/ broadband/speedtest
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