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Virgin Media leads broadband pack as UK's average speed hits 17.8Mbps

But Ofcom claims more needs to be done
Tue Apr 15 2014, 13:28
Red fibre broadband strands image

UK TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom has announced that the UK's average broadband speed is now 17.8Mbps, with Virgin Media leading the pack.

Ofcom's latest broadband report reveals that the UK's average broadband speed rose to 17.8Mbps as of November 2013, an increase of 3Mbps in just six months. In the five years since Ofcom released its first such report, the UK's average speeds have risen from 3.6Mbps in 2008.

However, while this is a huge increase, Ofcom claims that more needs to be done, saying that the benefits of these higher broadband speeds are not shared evenly across the country.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "The growth in superfast broadband and the rise in average speeds is testament to the investment in the sector. But the benefits are not shared evenly across the UK. There is more work needed to deliver wider availability of broadband and superfast broadband, particularly in rural communities but also in some locations within cities to enable wider access to fast internet."

In rural areas, average speeds increased from 9.9Mbps to 11.3Mbps between May and November 2013. While this is a bump, Ofcom is still not happy, and it bemoaned the fact that so-called 'superfast' broadband is still limited in such areas, with some having to rely on copper wire ADSL networks.

Virgin Media was quick to speak out about this too, and has launched the Very Megafast Snail Association (VMSA) to protest against such ageing technologies, as demonstrated in the image below.

Virgin Media protests copper connections with Very Megafast Snail Association

Meg Patience, leader and spokesperson for Very Megafast Snail Association said, "Certain providers continue to rub salt into the wounds with their slow copper broadband speeds. It makes us fizz at the thought. But we've had enough and are calling for the fast service today's connected snails need."

The network hasn't got too much to be sad about however, as in terms of internet service providers (ISPs), Virgin Media came out on top in Ofcom's latest report. Virgin Media's 120Mbps service was to thank, with Ofcom revealing that it achieved the fastest download speeds over a 24 hour period, averaging 114.9Mbps.

This was followed by "up to" 76Mbps fibre packages that include BT, Plusnet, Talktalk, Sky and EE, and which delivered average download speeds of 64.8Mbps.

Ofcom's latest broadband report arrived just hours after Sky and Talktalk announced plans to launch a gigabit, or 1,000Mbps, broadband network in the City of York. µ


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