Christmas 2020 will be remembered as the year we camped on the sofa to watch festive films in between video-calling loved ones from our homes.
But for some families in Swindon, this year’s frustrations are set to continue with new figures revealing crippling broadband speeds in some neighbourhoods.
Across the local authority, broadband speeds range from a superfast 440.1 megabits per second to a snail-paced 1 Mbps, according to data from Uswitch.com.
It means families using Zoom, Skype or Facebook to speak to relatives and friends could be faced with annoying freezes, cut-outs and sound delays.
Meanwhile, those downloading Christmas movie classics could be left waiting up to 120 hours, compared to just one minute 20 seconds in neighbourhoods with the fastest speeds.
It could add to the Christmas misery for some – something even The Grinch would struggle to serve up.
The average broadband speeds were collected in postcode areas with more than 50 addresses through at least one test in the 12 months up to October this year. In total, nearly 400,000 tests were done.
They revealed, in Swindon the postcodes with the slowest speeds were:
1) SN27TN, in Penhill and Upper Stratton, with an average speed of 1Mbps
2) SN22AP, in Rodbourne Cheney, average 2.6Mbps
3) SN254YF, in St Andrews, average 2.7Mbps
The postcodes with the fastest speeds were:
1) SN27SW, in Penhill and Upper Stratton, average 440.1Mbps
2) SN33TN, in Liden, Eldene and Park South, average 223.1Mbps
3) SN36NL, in Liden, Eldene and Park South, average 214.5Mbps
Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said: “The digital divide that runs through Britain has grown dramatically in the last year, with the fastest street’s broadband more than 5,000 times quicker than the slowest’s.”
He added: “It’s great that more of us are enjoying ultrafast broadband, but we don’t want to see large swathes of the country left behind on shoddy connections that aren’t suitable for modern life.”
This week, the Government set out a draft strategy to connect 1 million homes and businesses with 1,000 Mbps broadband in the hardest-to-reach areas of the UK.
It is part of a plan to provide 85% of the country with broadband capable of the speed by 2025.
Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: “We will begin these procurements rapidly so broadband providers big and small can move quickly to get the job done and level up communities with this much faster, next generation broadband.”