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Do we have the capacity? The UK cities most reliant on mobile data

Brighton & Hove residents rely on mobile data coverage more than anywhere else in the U.K., based upon their data reliance score.

BT said the cut in staff numbers was in part due to the completion of the roll out of its fibre optic broadband internet network
BT said the cut in staff numbers was in part due to the completion of the roll out of its fibre optic broadband internet network - Copyright AFP/File STR
BT said the cut in staff numbers was in part due to the completion of the roll out of its fibre optic broadband internet network - Copyright AFP/File STR

The company Uswitch mobiles has undertaken analysis looks at where in the U.K. people require Internet access, the reliability, and availability of mobile data and broadband to them.

While the majority of the population relies on fast and reliable Internet access, in some areas broadband providers are few. Therefore, mobile data reliance can become essential, with network coverage becoming valuable throughout the U.K., in order for people to carry out day-to-day work and stay connected to the outside world.

Data reliance amongst cities will fluctuate, due to many factors including the quality of broadband coverage, commuting time and how many people visit the area, who will naturally not have a Wi-Fi connection or be relying on non-secure or poor hotel Wi-Fi connection. In areas with slower broadband speed and fewer providers such as Newry in Northern Ireland, ensuring the best data coverage to stay connected is essential.

Therefore, out of the ten of the cities ranked as the lowest data reliant cities in the study, Stirling is the only city that currently offers 5G coverage by all four of the major networks. While the maximum broadband speed for 7 of 10 of the cities is below 1000 Mbps, by focusing on coverage in these cities, residents will naturally become more data reliant, being able to replace poor broadband speeds with data when needed.

The study’s rankings were based upon the percentage of residents who access internet, availability of 5G coverage, availability of broadband providers and the average speed of broadband connection in each location.

The outcome is:

RankCity% of population that used internet in past 3 monthsNo of 5G networks availableMax broadband speed (Mbps)Typical speed range (max) (Mbps)Typical speed range (min) (Mbps)No. of available broadband providersData reliance score (out of 100)
1Brighton & Hove97.70%31763193462786.2
2Coventry96.80%43657148461982.1
3London (inc. City of)94.90%45156191487981.8
4Portsmouth96.50%41136225611881.0
5Oxford96.50%33014161423280.3
6Southend-on-Sea96.30%44560201411577.5
7Bristol94.70%41511214532475.7
8Chichester96.70%41144124363274.8
9Winchester95.70%41143144393973.2
10Dundee96.10%4942203451371.1

The data suggests that with 97.7 percent of the population using the Internet in the past three months, yet a lower available number of broadband providers, Brighton & Hove residents rely on mobile data coverage more than anywhere else in the U.K., based upon their data reliance score.

Similarly, Coventry is the second most data-reliant city. Residents have fewer broadband providers to choose from and lower maximum speeds, despite 96.8 percent of the population relying on the internet. However, residents in Coventry have access to 5G coverage from the main four network providers (O2, Vodafone, Three and EE), which is still not fully available at a national scale across the U.K.

Dundee is the only Scottish city to appear in the top ten most data-reliant cities. With only 13 available broadband providers and a lower than average maximum broadband speed, residents of Dundee have a high demand for internet access but good availability of 5G coverage across the four major providers.

In terms of the least data reliant cities, Durham comes top. Despite low demand, Internet connectivity in Durham ranked as some of the poorest, with low broadband speeds and a small number of available providers compared to the rest of the country. Although Durham is a bustling university town, the average age of residents is one of the highest in the country with 21.3 percent of the population in retirement age.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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