The broadband postcode lottery: how your area fares and how you can improve a super-slow connection

Having broadband issues? Some London postcodes get broadband that's twice the speed of neighbouring districts. Find out how to beef up your digital connection...
Good news if you live in the WC postal district. Your broadband could be nearly twice as fast as your neighbours with EC postcodes, according to consumer speed tests by comparison shopping site uSwitch.com, which logged 50,000 Londoners.

Average figures show that WC postcodes benefit from by far the fastest broadband speeds, while E and EC postcodes have the slowest.

Looking at the data on a street-bystreet basis suggests there's more of a north-west bias. Fenstanton Avenue in N12 has the fastest average broadband speed in London, closely followed by Westbourne Park Road in W11, Curry Rise in NW7 and Sydney Road in N10.

DISCOVER THE AVERAGE BROADBAND SPEEDS IN YOUR POSTCODE:


Broadband speeds are increasingly important as many Londoners use the internet not just to stream movies and play games, but to work. Downloading a movie could take 16 minutes in Fenstanton Avenue and a shocking 7.3 hours in Cowley Road in SW9 — London's slowest street for broadband. But don't move house just to get faster broadband. Here are some fixes.

First check your speed
Most internet service providers offer an online speed test, or you can use uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest to compare yours.

Ideally test twice - once wirelessly using wi-fi and once by plugging your laptop into the broadband socket with an Ethernet cable. If the second speed is faster, then you can improve your speeds by upgrading your home wi-fi.

You can often improve wi-fi speeds by updating the firmware in your wi-fi router - download the latest version for free from the manufacturer's website.

Buy a faster package
If you would like faster broadband, shop around for the best speeds and prices available in your street. Each of the big providers has a postcode checker — it's worth trying BT, Virgin Media, EE, Sky, Plusnet and TalkTalk.

BT's top-of-the-range Infinity 2 fibre optic broadband offers downloads of up to 76 megabits per second, or Mbps, and costs £25 a month, plus £16.99 a month phone line rental. Visit bt.com.

Several broadband providers use BT's Openreach network, so you can expect similar maximum speeds from Sky, at sky.com/fibre, EE, at ee.co.uk/broadband, and others. According to Sky, this network means they cover 94 per cent of London.

Virgin Media uses its own high-speed fibre optic cable network to deliver speeds of "up to 152 Mbps", with coverage for more than half of London homes. Prices start at £41 a month, or slightly more including a phone line.

It is rolling out its service to an extra 100,000 homes in east London. Visit virginmedia.com/cablemystreet.
 
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Get up to speed: the Asus RT-AC68U offers wireless broadband twice as fast as an "n" router - the letter denotes wi-fi speed - and 20 times as fast as a "g" router


Get a faster router
A router connects devices such as computers, tablets and phones to your home internet connection.

New routers start at £30, but it's worth spending more for higher speeds. Letters "b", "g", "n" and "ac" denote the wi-fi speed, with "n" being pretty quick and "ac" being the fastest.

For example, the Asus RT-AC68U router - from around £170 at asus.com - is an "ac" router offering speeds twice as fast as an "n" router and 20 times as fast as a "g" router. The device you connect needs to be capable of highspeed wi-fi, too. If your computer is only "b", using it with a faster router won't make it quicker. Check with the retailer that you are getting the right model, as some only work with cable broadband and others only work with broadband delivered via your phone line.
 
10 fastest London streets 10 slowest London streets
Fenstanton Avenue N12 - 39.49Mbps Cowley Road SW9 - 1.41Mbps
Westbourne Park Road W11 - 38.88Mbps Westhill Park  N6 - 1.81Mbps
Curry Rise, Ingliss Barracks NW7 - 31.84Mbps Roundwood Road NW10 - 2.46Mbps
Sydney Road N10 - 31.84Mbps Boston Road, Hanwell W7 - 2.98Mbps
Arnos Grove  N14 - 28.38Mbps Russell Place SE16 - 3.26Mbps
Hyde Park Gate SW7 - 27.2Mbps Chatsworth Road NW2 - 3.86Mbps
Spencer Drive N2 - 26.05Mbps Strathaven Road, SE21 - 3.89Mbps
Deynecourt Gardens E11 - 23.54Mbps Union Grove, SW8 - 4.33Mbps
Wheat Sheaf Close E14 - 18.83Mbps Boardwalk Place E14 - 4.41Mbps
Woodford Road E18 - 18.08Mbps Roseberry Gardens N4 - 4.49Mbps
Source: uSwitch.com Broadband Speed Tracker

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