This is how Falkirk district's broadband speed compares to the rest of the UK

The good and bad connection areas are revealed

Broadband speeds vary across the local area
Broadband speeds vary across the local area

As Covid-19 means many of us are working and socialising from home, we depend more than ever on a reliable internet connection.

And even as lockdown measures begin to ease, those reluctant to resume long commutes may choose to shun their office for good.

But an analysis of broadband quality in Falkirk district shows this could be easier for some than others.

The House of Commons Library has produced estimates of average download speeds for individual areas within each parliamentary constituency across the UK.

In the Falkirk constituency, the fastest area was Shieldhill, where the average download speed was 100.6 megabits per second in May 2019, when the data was recorded.

This was significantly higher than the UK average of 60.9.

At the other end of the scale, the area of Reddingmuirhead and Overton saw an average speed of 45.3.

It means even Reddingmuirhead and Overton was above regular Ofcom’s definition of “superfast” downloads, which it defines as at least 30 Mbps.

While in the Linlithgow and Falkirk East constituency – which includes Avonbridge, Blackness, Bo’ness, California, Grangemouth, Maddiston, Reddingmuirhead, Slamannan and Whitecross – the fastest area was Bo'ness - Douglas, where the average download speed was 97.9 megabits per second in May 2019, when the data was recorded.

This was significantly higher than the UK average of 60.9.

At the other end of the scale, the area of Armadale saw an average speed of 30.8.

This was just above regular Ofcom’s definition of “superfast” downloads, which it defines as at least 30 Mbps.

The figures reflect speeds received rather than those available, as some people may have access to faster connections than the ones they pay for.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a £5 billion investment to roll out faster broadband to the hardest-to-reach areas across the nation.

But Andrew Ferguson, editor of Think Broadband, said some people could wait until 2025 to see the improvements.

He added: “With the pandemic highlighting how key broadband is for a functioning society, the need to address those worst off broadband-wise has never been clearer.”

The House of Commons Library analysis looked at other measures, including internet availability.

In Shieldhill, 96 per cent and in Bo'ness - Douglas, 97 per cent of premises were capable of receiving superfast download speeds in January, whether or not they were using such a service.

Meanwhile, virtually all premises were able to receive 10 Mbps download speeds or 1 Mbps for uploads, which Ofcom deems the minimum requirement for “decent broadband”.

The Government recently wrote into law the right to request this level of service, with Ofcom estimating in December that roughly 155,000 premises across the UK could be in line to claim.

In Reddingmuirhead and Overton, one per cent of premises were unable to get decent service, while 92 per cent had access to superfast download speeds.

While in Armadale, one per cent of premises were unable to get decent service, and 96 per cent had access to superfast download speeds.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “More than nine in 10 UK households can now get superfast broadband, but some areas still struggle for a decent connection.

“Since March, anyone who is unable to get a decent broadband service has the legal right to request one.

“We’re also supporting investment in faster, full-fibre broadband for the UK – including making sure rural areas get better connections.”

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said the Government is committed to bringing faster, gigabit-speed internet to the whole country – one gigabit is equal to 1,000 megabits.

He added: “We are determined to deliver on our gigabit commitment and are removing the barriers to industry accelerating broadband roll-out as well as investing £5 billion so the hardest-to-reach areas aren’t left behind.”

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