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UK broadband experiences a pandemic surge

UK broadband speeds and general availability have improved during lockdown, according to the country’s telecoms regulator.

A new report from Ofcom reveals that the UK’s broadband providers have rapidly expanded their networks during the Covid 19 pandemic, while average download speeds have spiked.

According to the report, almost a quarter (24%) of UK homes can now access superfast full-fibre internet packages, which is up from 21% in January.

What’s more, 40% of UK homes can now attain gigabit-capable broadband speeds from full-fibre and fast cable packages, which is up from 37% at the start of 2021.

An impressive 96% of the country can access superfast broadband speeds, which Ofcom classifies as speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s. Lower the criteria to 10 Mbit/s, which is still enough to browse the internet, stream TV shows, and make video calls (though maybe not all at once) and we’re looking at close to full (99.6%) coverage.

The report reveals that the ongoing global pandemic has prompted an estimated two million UK households to upgrade to superfast broadband packages, as enforced home working and increased media streaming has become a reality.

Unsurprisingly, average broadband speeds for the UK have spiked over the past two years, from 42.1 Mbit/s in November 2019 to 50.4 Mbit/s today. That’s a rise of some 20%.

Among the various broadband providers, Virgin Media was found to provide the fastest median average download speeds at 490.3 Mbit/s, while BT led the median average upload speeds at 50.6 Mbit/s.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 4G connectivity has remained more or less the same, while 5G connectivity is now more evenly distributed across the country than in 2020. Last year, two thirds of recorded 5G connections came from London, while now that figure sits at 45%.

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