THE UK'S AVERAGE BROADBAND SPEED has hit 18.7Mbps, Ofcom has revealed, with the speed delivered by cable broadband surpassing that of fibre for the first time.
Ofcom's latest broadband report found that the average broadband speed in the UK rose by 0.9Mbps, an increase of five percent, between November 2013 and May this year.
The data also show that average cable broadband speeds overtook those offered by a fibre connection for the first time. Cable speeds increased by 3.1Mbps, or eight percent, to 43.3Mbps, which Ofcom credits to consumers upgrading to faster broadband services. Average speeds offered by fibre connections, however, decreased by 0.9Mbps, or two percent, to 42Mbps.
Average speeds for ADSL connections, the most common type of broadband, increased by 0.7Mbit/s, or 10 percent, to 7.4Mbps in the six month period.
The figures also reveal that the digital divide is shrinking. Average urban speeds rose by five percent to 33.4Mbps and suburban to 22.9Mbps, the average rural speed rose by 20 percent to 13.6Mbps. However, the data also shows that upload speeds are still lacking - with Ofcom finding the average of all services - fibre and copper - is just 2.4Mbps.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "More and more consumers are benefitting from improvements to the UK’s broadband infrastructure. While good progress is being made, there is still work to do in ensuring more widespread distribution of high-speed, reliable broadband services across the UK.
"It's important for us to provide consumers with the best possible information to help them understand the options available to them when choosing broadband, how different packages perform, and what they can do to get the most from their services."
Ofcom also took a look at how UK internet service providers (ISPs) are performing, ranking Virgin Media as the pick of the crop. The firm's 152Mbps cable service achieved the fastest download speeds, with an average of 141.9Mbps, while BT's 76Mbps Fibre package came in second, with average speeds of 62Mbps over a 24 hour period.
Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge was pleased about the ISP's ranking, saying, "We're delighted to be officially rated the UK's fastest broadband provider six years in a row. When it comes to making the most of our increasingly connected lives, speed matters. Virgin Media continues to invest in bringing superfast broadband to Britain at home, at work and on the go."
In light of the report, Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said, "I'm delighted to say that these findings, whilst fantastic news, are not unexpected. Government has taken access to superfast broadband speeds to more than one million homes and businesses across the UK through our nationwide rollout, which has been instrumental in average speeds increasing by more than three and a half times since May 2010." µ
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