It’s a case of "Good News; Bad News" for UK broadband customers as Ofcom publishes its latest report into the state of connectivity.
In the six months since its last report, the average speed of broadband in the UK has risen by 10 percent from 6.2Mbps to 6.8Mbps. Cue a fanfare and a feeling that all is well with UK broadband. Not so fast, I'm afraid. Ofcom also reports that the gap between advertised and actual broadband speeds has widened in the last six months with the current average advertised speed being “up to” 15Mbps, a whopping 8.2Mbps over the real figure.
In March, Ofcom blasted ISPs for providing misleading figures to customers, recommending that ISPs use Typical Speeds Range (TSR), so consumers have a clearer idea of what speeds to expect. This latest report will only confirm Ofcom’s position.
At the moment 47 per cent of the residential population of the UK has access to broadband speeds exceeding 10Mbps, a huge increase on the figure of 9 per cent reported only two years ago. However there are still areas suffering from poor broadband coverage, an issue highlighted recently when Ofcom published an interactive map of the UK.
While a large proportion of the population has access to so-called superfast broadband, the majority (75 per cent) are still connected to the world wide web by copper ADSL telephone lines. This mean they are susceptible to the vagaries of length from the exchange and quality of the line.
BT’s Infinity service with “up to” 10Mbps upload speeds proved to provide the highest average upload speeds, which, at nearly 9Mbps, were more than twice as fast as any other service tested.
A new broadband speeds Code of Practice comes into effect today (27 July) which should ensure that customers are told of their likely speeds when signing up to a new ISP. Customers will also have the option of leaving their ISP should the maximum speed be significantly lower than the one quoted to them when signing-up.
The revised Code has already been implemented by some ISPs including Virgin Media, BT Broadband, O2 and Sky. Other providers have signalled their intention to sign up during the next few months.