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The UK's best and worst connected cities

New survey reveals that considerable investment needs to be made in digital infrastructure to address urban inequalities

London has around 700 people per public wi-fi hotspot
London has around 700 people per public wi-fi hotspot

Digital infrastructure investment is needed in many UK cities if homes and businesses are to exercise their legal right of having access to high-speed broadband by 2020, according to new data from comparison website, GoCompare.


Unsurprisingly, London is the best-connected city with almost 61 per cent 4G coverage, and nearly 700 people per public wi-fi hotspot, while Exeter is ranked bottom for connectivity in the UK. While it is one of the poorest areas for 4G coverage though, it does have a relatively high number of public wi-fi hotspots, boasting 1,166 people per public hotspot.


The report clearly demonstrates that many cities have connectivity challenges to overcome. April’s County Councils Network (CCN) report also indicated that two-thirds of the UK has below-average download speeds. This puts the UK’s businesses at a disadvantage compared to its competitors in countries such as Japan, where 97 per cent of the country is serviced by high-speed networks.


The GoCompare data compares and contrasts 57 major business hubs across the UK, taking into account digital infrastructure such as wi-fi availability, broadband speed and mobile/4G coverage.


“As a technologically advanced nation, the UK could be expected to provide its population with equal access to high-quality internet,” said Martyn John from GoCompare. “However, this study goes to show that more needs to be invested in some cities to offer their inhabitants the same online opportunities that people in London or Manchester receive.”


Best connected UK cities


1 London: 60.92% (4G coverage); 31.70 Mbps (average download speed); 698 (people per public hotspot)

2 Manchester: 60.92%; 30.44 Mbps; 395

3 Nottingham: 60.92%; 31.24Mbps; 904

4 Salford: 59.54%; 33.02 Mbps; 1,560

5 Birmingham: 60.77%; 30.82 Mbps; 650

6 Glasgow: 60.92%; 31.02 Mbps; 756

7 Southampton: 38.08%; 32.86 Mbps; 1,179

8 Leicester: 60.92%; 30.62 Mbps; 1,285

9 Coventry: 60.92%; 30.90 Mbps; 1,406

10 Brighton & Hove: 44.69%; 33.90Mbps; 1,446


Worst connected UK cities

48 Ripon: 13.15%; 27.58 Mbps; 1,856

49 Gloucester: 11.31%; 29.30 Mbps; 1,205

50 Swansea: 24.31%; 31.14 Mbps; 2,043

51 Salisbury: 3.00%; 28.72 Mbps; 746

52 Lincoln: 6.38%; 27.48 Mbps; 624

53 Wells: 0.62%; 26.08 Mbps; 1,171

54 Norwich: 5.62%; 27.16 Mbps; 908

55 Hereford: 00.0%; 25.14 Mpbs; 1,732

56 Carlisle: 6.00%; 25.92 Mbps; 2,068

57 Exeter: 6.31%; 26.84 Mbps; 1,166


The results have been collated into an interactive visualisation where you can see the overall ranking or sort cities by the three connectivity criteria


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