By Maximilian Clarke

London has the slowest average broadband speeds of any of the UK’s top ten largest cities, according to independent price comparison and switching service, uSwitch.com.

Speed tests taken using uSwitch.com’s 3G speed test app, which is available on iTunes, revealed that locals, businesses and tourists visiting London for the Olympics will have to make do with average 3G mobile broadband download speeds of just 2.71 Megabits per second (Mbps). With the extra strain on provider capacity of thousands of Olympic tourists expected over the summer, the worst case situation may be much of the 3G network grinding to a halt.

The speed seen in London is already 24% slower than Portsmouth — the fastest city in the UK — and trails behind neighbouring capital cities Cardiff (2.90Mbps) and Edinburgh (2.94Mbps).

Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city with a thriving business community, fares little better, lagging behind smaller cities such as Edinburgh, Leeds and Liverpool with an average download speed of 2.81Mbps.

Of the UK’s 30 largest cities, smartphone users in Portsmouth are enjoying the fastest connections with average download speeds of 3.56Mbps, while gadget fans in Wolverhampton are enduring the slowest speeds with a sluggish average of 2.46Mbps in 2011.

A recent uSwitch.com survey of more than 1,000 smartphone users reveals that many of us are disappointed with the 3G connection and speeds we are currently receiving. Four out of ten (39%) respondents are unhappy with their current 3G speeds, with almost half (47%) saying their download speeds are ‘slow’. Only 6% are happy with the ‘very fast’ speed of their mobile internet.

Survey respondents clearly feel their 3G service quality leaves a lot to be desired, with almost half (47%) describing their coverage as ‘patchy’ or ‘non existent’, while 42% report problems with mobile broadband connections on a daily basis. A massive 91% experience 3G blackspots where there is simply no coverage at all.

Mobile broadband might be designed for on-the-go web browsing, but smartphone users claim to experience problems with 3G reception when outdoors (14%), while 17% said 3G coverage was problematic on trains and 13% say travelling in a car causes problems. But by far the biggest gripe was getting 3G coverage when not al fresco, with 43% reporting problems when trying to connect to 3G indoors.

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