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UK Broadband Speeds Increase by 10%

While British consumers benefit from a surge in broadband speeds, the gap between advertised speed and reality is widening, a new study finds.

In six months, the average UK broadband speed has increased from 6.2Mbit/s in November/December 2010, to 6.8Mbit/s in May 2011. These figures are published by Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.

Ofcom also revealed that almost half (47%) of UK residential broadband users are on packages with advertised speeds above 10Mbit/s in May 2011, compared to 42% in November 2010 and just 8% in April 2009.

Despite the good news, data shows that the gap between actual speeds and advertised (‘up to’) speeds has also increased.

In May 2011, the average advertised speed was 15Mbit/s, 8.2Mbit/s higher than average actual speeds of 6.8Mbit/s. In November/December 2010 the gap was 7.6Mbit/s, between average actual speed 6.2Mbit/s and average advertised speed 13.8Mbit/s.

Broadband Providers and Top Speeds

Research also found that superfast services offer significantly faster speeds than copper ADSL broadband.

The average speed on Virgin Media’s 50Mbit/s is advertised as 50Mbit/s, but the research shows that it offered actual average speeds of 48Mbit/s. BT’s Infinity service, which has a headline speed of 40Mbit/s, offered average speeds of 34Mbit/s.

According to the study, 75% of UK residential broadband connections are currently delivered by copper ADSL telephone lines. While speeds for these consumers depend on the length and quality of the line, in general terms the closer a consumer lives to the exchange, the better the performance.

The average download speed for users on an ADSL line are advertised as ‘up to’ 20Mbit/s and 24Mbit/s, but were actually 6.6Mbit/s; with 37% of clients saying that they received average speeds of 4Mbit/s or less.

The Best Broadband Performance

Overall, BT’s Infinity service was the provider that offered the highest average upload speeds which at nearly 9Mbit/s -‘up to’ 10Mbit/s upload speeds-, were more than twice as fast as any other service tested.

Download speed is the most important single measure in determining broadband performance and also the most popular among most of advertisers, there are other measures to bear in mind. Upload speeds can be particularly important for those consumers looking to share large files or use real-time video communications.


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