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.
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.
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.
It’s not all bad news where broadband rental affordability is concerned though. Both the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University rank within the top 10 with an average broadband speed of 40.3Mbps in the area. What’s more, they’re far more affordable from a rental standpoint, with an average rental requirement of £958 and £889 per month, respectively.
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.
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.”
Survey of 1,035 UK students carried out by Find Out Now (January 26th 2021).