Hundreds of homes in the Braintree district have internet speeds below the minimum standard for broadband.

Broadband providers have had to meet a “universal service obligation” since March 2020, meaning everyone has the legal right to a “decent, affordable” connection.

That is defined as a download speed of at least 10mb/s and an upload speed of 1mb/s, for a maximum of £45 a month.

If customers cannot access internet at this speed, they can ask their local network provider to set up a connection – although internet providers are excused if the cost to them is over £3,400.

New data from Ofcom shows there were 245 homes suffering from broadband below these speeds in the district in January.

A 10mb/s connection is the minimum standard for being able to stream video and make face-to-face calls – both of which surged as working from home became more normal over the pandemic.

Homes suffering from extremely slow speeds accounted for fewer than one per cent of households in the Braintree area.

Meanwhile, 21,521 properties – 30 per cent - in the district can access “ultrafast” broadband – with speeds of 300mb/s or more.

Ofcom said while new fibre-optic broadband had improved internet speeds for millions, some remain at risk of being left behind.

A spokesman said: “Some homes in hard-to-reach areas still struggle to get decent broadband, so there’s more work to do to make sure these communities get the connections they need.”

Remote, rural areas are most likely to suffer from slow internet speeds.

Across the East of England, 6,021 homes were below the minimum standard for broadband speed.

High-speed internet is a key part of the Government’s “levelling-up” agenda.

In their 2019 general election manifesto, the Conservative party promised gigabit broadband – with download speeds of 1000mb/s – would be made available nationwide by 2025.

This target was later revised down to 85 per cent by 2025, with full coverage by 2030.

Ofcom's figures show 66 per cent of the UK could access gigabit broadband as of January.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We've put more cash into broadband rollout than any government in British history.

"More than 97 per cent of UK premises can access superfast broadband, which meets people's current needs, but we are determined to not leave anyone behind.”