New research by regulator Ofcom has revealed that the UK’s average broadband download speed is now 7.6Mbps compared to 6.2Mbps a year ago and 6.8Mbps in May of 2011.
This increase however is not down to an improvement in the broadband network according to Ofcom but in customers moving to higher speed packages. Reflecting this move, in November 2011, for the first time more than half (58 per cent) of UK residential broadband connections had a headline, or advertised speed of above 10Mbps, up from 48 per cent in May 2011.
However, more than four in 10 broadband consumers remain on packages with speeds of 10Mbps or less even though many of them would be able to get a higher speed at little or no extra cost if they switched package or provider.
However, according to other research from Akamai, in its State of the Internet report, the UK’s average download speed is just 5.1Mbps, meaning that the UK has dropped to 25th place in the global rankings.
To help get the country moving back up the table, the government recently announced the Rural Broadband Fund of £530 million which will aim to connect the part of the country which is still struggling along on connections of 2Mbps or less.
In September last year the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), published new guidelines on the advertising of broadband packages. These are set to come into force in April of this year and could see significant changes in the way ISPs advertise their broadband packages.
Using Ofcom’s data, this means that packages currently advertised as up to 8Mbps would be be downgraded to 6Mbps while 20Mbps service would now be advertised as 14Mbps.
Looking at the 13 ISP packages covered in Ofcom’s report, it found that the fibre-based and cable broadband technologies were fastest with Virgin Media’s 50Mbps service having the highest average download speeds of 49Mbps. BT Infinity which delivered average download speeds of around 36Mbps, up from approximately 34Mbps in May 2011, achieved the highest upload speeds of 8.8Mbps.