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58% of students would not rent a property with poor broadband a new survey reveals



Swansea University’s Bay Campus (Image: Swansea University)

With Swansea’s growing student population and two universities, how does it rank when compared to the top 50 University towns and cities for broadband speed and student rental costs?

The latest research by UniHomes, the UK’s leading student accommodation platform, has revealed how the pandemic has resulted in students placing a far greater importance on internet connectivity, as well as the UK universities offering the best broadband speeds to meet this need.

The modern student relies heavily on the internet with much of their course material, research and writing delivered in a digital capacity. Although price and location still take priority when searching for a property, 58% of students told UniHomes that they would not rent a property without the availability of high-speed broadband.

With current Covid restrictions, this reliance on the internet has become even greater as many are now restricted from visiting their campus for the foreseeable future. In fact, UniHomes found that 33% of students are now spending more than five additional hours online per day in order to study. A further 21% are spending an additional four to five hours extra, with 24% spending an additional two to three hours.

Students at Swansea University’s Singleton Campus before the pandemic (Image: Swansea University)

This pandemic induced uplift in internet usage means that 66% of students now place greater importance on good internet in the home, with 29% having struggled to join online lectures or seminars due to poor internet connectivity while studying remotely. 19% have also struggled to access other course materials, while a below par internet connection has prevented others from completing research (18%) and submitting assignments (13%). 

When you add in the all-important need to use the internet in a social capacity, whether it be to stream Netflix or for those Zoom calls to family and friends, it’s clear that good connectivity is vital to stay on top of uni life.

Fear not, UniHomes has broken the UK’s top 50 universities down based on current broadband quality, as well as highlighting those that are not only home to above-average connectivity but have the added bonus of an affordable average rental cost.

Across the UK, the average broadband download speed is currently 32.2 megabits per second and the good news is that as many as 40 of the top 50 UK unis are home to above-average broadband speeds.

white and blue cables
(Image: Brett Sayles /

Best for Broadband

In terms of all-out broadband speed, Queen Mary University of London ranks as number one. Located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the area boasts an average broadband speed of 56.7Mbps. The downside? This connectivity will cost you and at £1,679 per month in rent, ranking as the eighth most expensive university where the cost of renting is concerned.

In fact, eight of the top 10 universities for connectivity are also home to an average monthly rental cost upwards of £1,200 per month, including Cambridge, ICL, SOAS University of London, Oxford Brookes, the University of Oxford, the Harper Adams University and the University of East Anglia.

St David’s student accommodation is one of the many dedicated blocks in Swansea (Image: Google Maps)

Cheapest Rental

However, if a more affordable rental cost is more important than broadband speed, then the Universities of Liverpool, Leicester, Leeds, Lincoln, Lancaster and Loughborough (we’re not making this up) could be the right choice for you.

All six of these universities not only offer broadband speeds above the UK average, but they’re also home to a monthly rental cost of between £517 and £737.

Swansea University Singleton Campus (Image: Swansea University)


Swansea comes mid-table – 25th out of the top 50 for broadband speed with an average of 36.2Mbps. This is 4Mbps faster than the UK average of 32.2Mbps. It’s also mid-table when it comes to accommodation rental costs – averaging at £930 per month. This is £49 per month cheaper than the UK average monthly rental cost of £979.

Co-Founder of UniHomes, Phil Greaves commented: “Broadband connectivity plays an incredibly important role in university life and this importance has only increased due to the current pandemic.

“It also plays a big part in our social wellbeing, allowing for social interaction with friends and family at home, or to binge on our favourite TV shows and films.

“More often than not, students will be living in shared accommodation and so bad broadband can lead to tension should one person be constantly streaming, resulting in poor connectivity for the rest.


“The good news is that the vast majority of the UK’s best universities are home to above-average broadband speeds. So even if you prioritise the cost of renting when searching for the right university, the chances are you’ll still be able to work, stream and Zoom without any major issues.”

The Top 50 list in full

Table shows which of the UK’s top 50 universities have above average broadband speeds and the cost of renting in each universities postcode

UniversityAverage rent per month in university postcodeAverage rent per week in university postcodeMedian broadband download speed (Mbps)
Queen Mary University of London£1,679£38756.7
University of Cambridge£1,460£33749.6
UCL (University College London)£1,806£41745.5
SOAS University of London£1,806£41745.5
Oxford Brookes University£1,611£37241.5
University of Oxford£1,425£32941.5
University of Nottingham£958£22140.3
Nottingham Trent University£889£20540.3
Harper Adams University£1,211£27939.4
University of East Anglia UEA£1,392£32138.8
University of Sussex£1,506£34838.7
Imperial College London£2,979£68737.8
London School of Economics and Political Science£2,486£57437.8
King’s College London, University of London£2,486£57437.8
University of Bristol£1,514£34937.8
University of Reading£936£21637.6
University of Birmingham£796£18437.5
Aston University, Birmingham£757£17537.5
University of Edinburgh£934£21636.8
Heriot-Watt University£858£19836.8
Royal Holloway, University of London£1,440£33236.7
Cardiff University£858£19836.7
University of Leeds£696£16136.5
University of Leicester£637£14736.5
Swansea University£930£21536.2
Arts University Bournemouth£1,086£25136.0
University of Surrey£2,086£48135.8
University of Warwick£1,225£28335.6
University of Glasgow£1,053£24335.5
University of Strathclyde£861£19935.5
University of Manchester£1,031£23835.4
University of Liverpool£517£11935.3
Loughborough University£737£17035.1
University of Dundee£834£19235.0
University of Southampton£1,376£31834.8
University of York£1,156£26734.8
University of Lincoln£721£16634.7
University of Exeter£974£22534.5
Newcastle University£837£19333.7
Lancaster University£723£16733.7
UK Average£979£22632.2
The Complete University GuideProperty DataThink Broadband (Q4, 2020)

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