Almost 1,000 homes in Monmouthshire have internet below the minimum standard for broadband speeds, according to new figures.
Since March 2020, broadband providers have been bound by a “universal service obligation”, which means that everyone has the legal right to a “decent and affordable” connection.
This is defined as a download speed of at least 10MB/s and an upload speed of 1MB/s, for a maximum of £45 per month.
If customers cannot access the internet at that speed, they can ask their local network provider to establish a connection – although internet providers are excused if the cost to them is more than £3,400.
New data from Ofcom shows there were 941 homes suffering from broadband below these speeds on behalf of January.
A 10MB/s connection is the minimum standard for being able to stream video and make face-to-face calls – both of which have increased as working from home has become normalized during the pandemic.
Households suffering from extremely slow speeds were still a minority in Monmouthshire, accounting for 2% of households in the area.
Meanwhile, 11,094 properties (24%) in Monmouthshire can access ‘superfast’ broadband – with speeds of 300MB/s or more – up from 4% five years ago, in June 2017.
Ofcom said that while new fiber optic broadband has improved internet speeds for millions of people, some still risk being left behind.
A spokesperson said: “Some homes in hard-to-reach areas are still struggling to get decent broadband, so there’s still work to be done to make sure these communities get the connections they need. .”
In the United Kingdom, nearly 100,000 premises have connections that do not comply with the universal service obligation, including 81,500 residential ones.
Remote rural areas are most likely to suffer from slow internet speeds, with Aberdeenshire, the Highlands and Powys topping the list for most homes below the minimum standard.
Across Wales, 10,626 homes were below the minimum broadband speed standard, with only Scotland and Northern Ireland having more.
Which?, the consumer champion, said the cost of living crisis has made the availability of reliable, low-cost broadband all the more necessary.
The organisation’s director of policy and advocacy, Rocio Concha, said: “Industry and government must work together, or risk undermining the UK’s aim to become a global leader in connectivity. “
High-speed Internet is a key part of the government’s “upgrading” program.
In its manifesto for the 2019 general election, the Conservative Party promised gigabit broadband – with download speeds of 1000MB/s – would be available across the country by 2025.
This target was later revised down to 85% by 2025, with full coverage by 2030.
Ofcom figures show 66% of the UK could get gigabit broadband in January.
A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “We have invested more money in rolling out broadband than any government in British history.
“Over 97% of UK premises can access super-fast broadband, meeting people’s current needs, but we are determined to leave no one behind.
“Since the USO gave people the legal right to a decent internet connection two years ago, more than 89,000 premises have been upgraded.
“We are also prioritizing these hard-to-reach areas for ultra-fast gigabit broadband through our record-breaking £5 billion Gigabit project, with 600,000 premises already connected.”