Harrogate’s Standings Revealed in Ofcom’s 2023 Internet Speed Data

15 November 2023

In September, Ofcom released another batch of data that tracks internet quality all over Britain. The dataset originates from May 2022-2023, representing one of the year’s most comprehensive insights into the nation’s online infrastructure. Find the internet data for Harrogate below, along with how it compares to other places in North Yorkshire and England as a whole.

The Internet in Harrogate

Ofcom’s dataset is separated into three distinct categories – gigabit availability, average download speed and then a slower connections tab to identify problem areas. Harrogate and its surrounding area stand out in the county of North Yorkshire with internet quality that rivals the city of York.

Before we get into the data, we should understand how important the internet has become to Britain’s economy. Recent cabinets have committed to bringing fast internet everywhere, as it has become the main way many work, shop and find entertainment. Fast internet is needed to enjoy common forms of entertainment like video-streaming with Netflix. iGaming is also popular, with its largest companies finding their home in Britain or nearby Ireland – just one iGaming website can offer hundreds of online slots that all have different themes, settings and gameplay styles, and all require reliable internet. There’s a lot more available online, presenting nearly limitless entertainment options for those in urban and rural areas across England.

Harrogate is well-known for being right next to the Yorkshire Dales, with the more local Plumpton Rocks to the east. Despite its striking rurality, Harrogate and its surrounding towns like Knaresborough have some of the county’s best internet. This might be because of its proximity to tourist destinations like the Rocks or the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rural destinations naturally suffer from slower internet, though this just means the nearest towns need to have better internet to attract tech-literate travellers and act as a staging area for support and rescue.

Looking at the data, the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency has 90.5% gigabit availability. This means 90% are capable of hosting online services that deliver one gigabit per second. For context, the national average is 73.6% and the lowest borough in England is Copeland, Cumbria which has 3.3%. Against a national average of 111.6 Mbps, Harrogate fares a little better at 117.3 Mbps. As a result, it doesn’t stand out on the problem area map since it outperforms the rest of the country when averaged.

How Harrogate Compares to Other Regions

North Yorkshire is England’s largest county, so there are many local regions that Harrogate can be compared with. Besides York, Middlesborough is a heavily urbanised local area while Scarborough has a similar population as us, both providing varied and interesting points of comparison.

York’s gigabit metrics stand at 68.3% for outer York and 82.9% for York central. Unsurprisingly, they handily beat us when it comes to download speeds at 171.3 Mbps and 182.9 Mbps. Middlesborough posts better numbers – 93.6% and 140.2 Mbps – and is also surrounded by fast internet speeds like Stockton North, Stockton South and Hartlepool.

The constituency for Scarborough and Whitby has drastically different numbers with 9% gigabit availability and just 52.1 Mbps download speeds, making it one of the lowest regions in North Yorkshire. This may be explained by Scarborough and Whitby being resort towns, while Harrogate is better known for nearby natural features that host tourist activities further away from civilisation.

While download speeds don’t quite match up to York, Harrogate & Knaresborough have more households capable of one gigabit speeds than any of its neighbours. The closest rivals in terms of internet service quality are Middlesborough and, to the south, the many constituencies that form Leeds.

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