The Welsh village where broadband is so slow locals get up at 4am to send emails

Christopher Hope
The Welsh village where broadband is so slow locals get up at 4am to send emails

Most people get up before dawn to go for a job or walk the dog. But families in north Wales have a different early morning routine: trying to send emails and do online paperwork on Britain's slowest broadband network.

Locals living in the Abererch, Gwynedd, have resorted to getting up at 4am just to get an internet connection. 

The small rural village has been named as having Britain's worst broadband, slower than Mount Everest base camp.

The area topped the list for having the slowest download speed of all UK council wards - being five times under acceptable levels set by government. The Telegraph has launched a campaign for communities to get better broadband.

The village has the slowest download speed in the UKCredit: Michael Gibson /Alamy

Families living in Abererch said the slow speeds were damaging their businesses.

Mike Kirwin, who runs his own business bringing internet to music festivals, said: “It’s putting a huge stress on my business and regularly puts me at a disadvantage.

“One of my neighbours gets up at 4am to do his paperwork because it's the only time he can get usable internet.”

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, who runs an upmarket camping business, has even had to make late night visits to the pub just to work.

He said: “We have to keep our website up to date and take bookings through it and it has been so bad I had to go Wetherspoons just to get a connection.”

Best and worst broadband speeds in UK - MAP

The broadband figures, revealed by the House of Commons, show seven of the top ten areas for the worst speeds in the UK are in Wales.

Abererch was recorded as having a speed of 2Mbps (Megabits Per Second) – far below the lowest acceptable download speed set by the government being 10Mbps.

Base camp at Mount Everest has a speed of more than 2Mbps.

Liz Saville Roberts MP, for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, said the “glacial pace” of internet means rural householders are suffering disproportionately.

Over half of householders in her constituency get broadband connection speeds under the very minimum set by the Government.

She said: “These figures serve to reaffirm the disproportionate divide between those areas which are able to access superfast broadband and those rural communities struggling to achieve the Government's own baseline download speed.

“Upgrading digital infrastructure in rural areas is crucial to ensuring that the rural economy is not further disadvantaged.

Better Broadband

“The current situation evidently puts businesses at a disadvantage and may make potential employers think twice about investing in such areas.”

The news came as a new study found that small businesses in rural areas were twice as likely to have a poor connection as those in towns or cities.

Research by the British Chambers of Commerce said that unreliable broadband connections are hitting productivity and causing "needless" delays.

The survey of almost 1,500 business leaders showed that smaller companies were most likely to suffer. 

Adam Marshall, the Chamber’s director general, said: “Business communities across the UK still report that our digital infrastructure is not fit for purpose. 

“Significant numbers of companies of every size and sector lack reliable internet connectivity - a basic requirement for businesses to operate efficiently in today's world.

“Unreliable connections stunt productivity, causing needless delays, costs and frustration. While businesses in every corner of the UK are affected, our research shows that it's rural areas and small businesses that are most likely to suffer. 

“An unreliable connection acts as an obstacle to growth, and puts those firms most in need of support at a competitive disadvantage. 

“We've been calling on both providers and on government for years to fund the necessary upgrades required to deliver superfast broadband to business communities.”

Matt Hancock, digital economy minister, said: “The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband is reaching thousands more businesses and homes every week, and we are introducing automatic compensation for customers who are not getting the reliable service they are promised. 

“By the end of the year, 95 per cent of homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband and we are introducing a full fibre business broadband voucher scheme that will help businesses get the connectivity they need.”

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