Most Surrey internet users have broadband speeds below the national average, according to a survey.
Connection speeds in nearly nine out of 10 businesses and homes fall short of the national average of 6.7mbps*. In some cases, speeds are considerably worse than those commonly experienced on mobile phones.
The findings come from a survey done by Surrey County Council as part of its drive to ensure firms and residents are not left behind in the superfast broadband roll-out.
The council is in the process of selecting a company to provide the superfast broadband infrastructure for up to 20% of Surrey businesses and residents – around 100,000 premises – not included in BT’s current plans to provide the service nationally.
Surrey generates £28 billion annually for the UK economy** and contributes more net taxation to the UK Exchequer than any area outside the City of London.
Responses from nearly 3,000 businesses and residents showed 87% reported speeds slower than the national average. For some, they were as low as 0.1mbps compared with the average download speed on a mobile of 1.5mbps***, which allows a basic web page to be opened in around nine seconds.
In other areas of Surrey, people logging on reported speeds of 100mbps, which means a music album can be downloaded in about five seconds.
Surrey businesses achieved an average broadband speed of 5.3mbps, according to the survey, while the average for homes was 3.5 mbps****. A basic broadband service is generally regarded as 2mbps.
Peter Martin, Surrey County Council’s deputy leader, said: “Fast and reliable web access is vital for business and essential to our daily lives. What this survey shows is swathes of Surrey have a long way to go before reaching the internet fast lane.
“The council is determined to support businesses by doing everything possible to significantly speed up the broadband service in those areas and make sure that people in rural communities and other parts of Surrey where connection is patchy or poor are not left behind.”
Notes for editors
* Average broadband download speed from data published by uSwitch last month.
** Gross value added
*** According to Ofcom last May.
**** Businesses with speeds below the national average were mainly based in Waverley, Mole Valley and Tandridge. Rural Chiddingfold, Frensham, Elstead and Ripley were most frequently reported as having the lowest speeds. Residents with speeds below the national average were also mainly based in Waverley, Mole Valley and Tandridge. The lowest speeds in homes were most frequently reported in Caterham, Woldingham, Frensham, Wanborough, Normandy, Chiddingfold and Elstead.
The survey ran from September 2011 to February this year. In total 2,895 residents and 536 businesses responded. Some did not answer the question about broadband speed.