Co Durham residents protest slow broadband header image

Residents in County Durham have been demonstrating the struggles they face due to poor broadbands, after a survey revealed average speeds far below average.

Some 24 households in Hamsterley took part in the study, organised by the Teesdale Mercury, which revealed the average connection speed was just 1.9Mbps - compared with a UK average of over 17Mbps.

However, some of those polled were even worse off, as it was revealed residents living further from the village's telephone exchange saw a significant decline in their connectivity. For households just a few hundred metres from the cabinet, speeds of around 5Mbps were recorded, but this dropped to 0.5Mbps for locations 4km away.

One resident told the publication that since filing a complaint with BT on April 6th about the slow speeds, they have spent "almost every day" trying to get the problems sorted out - but to no avail.

"Initially my speed test reading on April 6 was 0.00. BT actually said this wasn't possible and day after day kept saying they couldn't find anything wrong. To cut a very long story short and dozens of emails and phone calls with BT someone finally admitted I was not getting the megabyte I was promised," the resident explained.

Efforts are being made to improve broadband provisions in the area,with the Digital Durham partnership between BT and the local council aiming to bring superfast connectivity to more of the county. However, the man behind the project has admitted that some rural areas may miss out due to the complicated nature of the scheme.

Phil Jackman, head of ICT at Durham County Council, said: "Under our current plans, working with our partner BT, we will deliver fibre to the cabinet broadband to around 87 per cent of Weardale and Teesdale." But he added: "Engineering work across Weardale and Teesdale will understandably be far more complicated than in more urban areas."

For those who do miss out on superfast connectivity, however, it does not mean they have no option but to endure slow speeds, as satellite broadband services can guarantee a high-speed service no matter where a premises is located.