Consumer price comparison website uSwitch has unveiled new research that highlights that 49 per cent of UK postcodes receive broadband speeds of less than 6.742 Mbps.

With basic superfast broadband speeds meant to be at 20 Mbps, the research highlights the massive challenge that the UK government faces in deploying next generation networks nationwide before 2015.

uSwitch found that 34 per cent of the UK currently has broadband speeds of 5 Mbps and 23 per cent has speeds of less than 4 Mbps. It also highlights that one in ten UK postcodes currently has speeds of 3 Mbps or less.

The data has been collected over the past six months, where uSwitch carried out 1.68 million broadband speed tests on homes and businesses. Hereford, population 55,800, is the city that currently suffers from the slowest broadband speeds, with the average download speed currently at 3.196 Mbps.

This was closely followed by Kilmarnock, with average speeds of 3.218 Mbps, and Carlisle, 3.240 Mbps.

"Britain might be riding the wave of a super-fast broadband revolution, but for the 49 per cent who get less than the national average broadband speed, the wave isn't causing so much a splash as a ripple," said Julia Stent, director of telecoms at

"And what's really surprising is the number of cities and towns such as Hereford and Carlisle that are suffering from slow broadband speeds, dispelling the view that it's just rural areas and small towns that have issues with their broadband," she added.

The government has committed a minimum of £730m up until 2015 to support the rollout of next generation broadband networks across the UK, in a bid to meet Chancellor George Osborne's aim of creating the best superfast network in Europe by 2015.