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The UK’s Digital Cities… Does YOUR Hometown Make the Top 10?

The Top UK Digital Cities 

Unsurprisingly, the capitals for three of the four countries of the UK make up the top contenders, with only Cardiff unfortunately missing out on a spot on the list. Edinburgh taking the top spot over London was something we didn’t anticipate, but this was down to Edinburgh having both higher upload and download speeds and bagging those extra points. Manchester taking 4th is once again not surprising given its strong cultural roots in music and visual media, however Salford and Bolton breaking the top 10 may require some explanation.

Bolton took home points thanks to its internet speeds, ranking 5th and 7th for download and upload speeds respectively, while Salford had the best ratio of people to jobs, as well as ranking 4th for percentage of jobs that are digital. This can be put down to two main factors – MediaCityUK and its proximity to Manchester. MediaCityUK is no doubt a large supplier of jobs in the digital sector and there’s inevitably some crossover with some of the roles available in Manchester city centre. This isn’t to put Salford down – it should be seen as a great area of potential and investment for digital-based businesses.

North of the border, Dundee placed third in the rankings for download speeds, while Aberdeen took the top spot for uploads – two results that took us by surprise. This is most likely due to Scotland’s continued investment in the country’s internet infrastructure, with new support being announced as recently as August of this year.

Birmingham is also another name you’d expect to see on this list thanks to its continued support as a northern hub, having good placements for internet speeds as well as coming 8th for job availability. Finally, Leeds rounds out the list at number ten, further emphasising its role as a cultural and digital centre for Yorkshire in an area that’s seeing continual growth, with a list of entertainment and digital institutions choosing to take root there and growing with it.

The Full Top 10:

  1. Edinburgh
  2. London
  3. Belfast
  4. Manchester
  5. Salford
  6. Dundee
  7. Aberdeen
  8. Birmingham
  9. Bolton
  10. Leeds


Internet speeds
This was gathered using thinkbroadband’s Local Broadband Information Tool, using the most recent data available. This site uses data from users’ own reports to generate the information, which means that hardware, providers and location are variables which must be kept in mind. We also used the mean rather than the median as we believe this shows the potential that the areas have, giving the faster connections a bit more sway.

Job information
We used a mix of Indeed and LinkedIn, using the city/town for the location (with a 5 mile and 8km radius respectively) to see total jobs available. We also only considered on-site roles and chose to omit hybrid and remote roles, as despite their prevalence in today’s workplace we felt they didn’t paint a true picture of the opportunities available in these areas specifically. We then used the term “digital” to see the number of matching jobs available in each location and used this data to calculate the percentage of available jobs in each city/town.

Population data
This was taken from a variety of sources, using the census as and where it was possible. This data was then used to calculate how many people were available per “digital” role, with the lowest number ranking the highest as it meant there were more roles available in that area.

Using our data

Each area was then given a rank for each set of data, before collating the top 10 for download speeds, upload speeds, people per job and percentage of jobs that are “digital”, gaining 10 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, 8 for 3rd and so on. These points were then totalled up to give each area a score.

We then used this 5G coverage finder to see which areas had the most networks providing 5G from major networks across the UK, including EE, Virgin and 3, giving each area an amount of points. We calculated this based on how many networks they were covered by to give us our final tables.

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