Wakefield second least connected UK city to ultrafast broadband

Superfast broadband, which is around four times slower than ultrafast is a more popular option in Wakefield.
Superfast broadband, which is around four times slower than ultrafast is a more popular option in Wakefield.

Wakefield is the second least connected city to 'ultrafast' broadband in the UK, an independent report has revealed.

Just 41 per cent of homes in the district have access to internet speeds of 100 megabytes per second (mbps) or more, compared to 56 per cent of the whole country's population.

The findings were revealed in a new report by the independent Centre for Cities think tank, which looked at data in 63 urban areas.

Wakefield Council said that local people were opting more for 'superfast' broadband, which is around a quarter of the strength of ultrafast internet, because it is cheaper and still effective.

In papers on the issue prepared for the council's Cabinet meeting next week, it said: "As part of the economic strategy, the council is working with both providers to maximise this investment to the benefit of residents.

"Whilst this figure looks poor, there is a question on the data to consider. Ultrafast broadband is normally a more commercial offering with speeds in excess of 100mbps while normal superfast broadband is 24mbps and the usual household option."

The Centre for Cities report also highlights a number of other statistics which indicate the current health of Wakefield's economy.

The average price of a house is now £164,000, while the average annual salary is just short of £25,800 - up by about £50 from last year.

And while existing Wakefield businesses are more likely to survive than the average UK firm, the number of new company start ups remains low.

Since 2007, Wakefield has a 15 per cent increase in start-up rates, against an average of 26 per cent for UK cities as a whole.

Innovation, which is measured by the number of registered patents in the district, is also low, with Wakefield in the bottom tenth of cities.

The council said this was "unsurprising" given the absence of a university in the area.

Cities Outlook 2019 report - key figures

Increase in productivity per Wakefield worker increase since 2015 - 6.1%

Increase in new businesses since 2007 - 15%

Business closure rate - 36 per 10,000 (national average 54 per 10,000)

Average weekly wage - £496 per week (national average £555 per week)

Average house price - £164,000

An earlier version of this story quoted the Cabinet's report saying Virgin and City Fibre had committed £35m for the rollout of ultrafast broadband in Wakefield. The council has since said that this is not the case and has subsequently deleted that line from its own report.

Local Democracy Reporting Service