Almost one in three UK broadband connections superfast – Ofcom

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According to research by Ofcom, almost one in three (32%) broadband connections in the UK are superfast, up from approximately one in four in November 2013. The regulator said increasing take-up of superfast, 30Mbps or above, cable and fibre services has increased the country’s average broadband speed by a fifth in the last six months to 22.8Mbps.

The report claimed that as of November last year, the average actual speed over superfast connections was 50.4Mbps. However, the competition authority admitted a “small proportion” of subscribers of these connections experienced actual speeds below 30Mbps.

Cable broadband average speeds increased by 26% since November 2013 to 54.4Mbps, while fibre connection speeds averaged at 41.6Mbps. Ofcom said improvement in cable speeds was largely down to Virgin Media’s faster broadband opt-in offer to its customers. At 7.3Mbps on average, ADSL apparently saw no significant change.

In a six month-period ended in November 2014, average download speeds in urban vicinities grew by 21%, which Ofcom again largely attributed to Virgin’s upgrade programme. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were no noteworthy changes to report in suburban and rural areas.

In terms of providers covered by the report, Virgin’s 152Mbps service achieved the fastest download speeds, averaging 132.6Mbps over 24 hours. But looking at upload speeds the research found Plusnet’s up-to 76Mbps package to perform the best at 17Mbps on average.

“The UK has seen significant investment in superfast broadband, and millions of households are now benefitting from faster speeds and more choice,” Steve Unger, Acting Ofcom Chief Executive, said. “But there’s still more to be done to ensure that everyone can share in those benefits.

“It’s encouraging to see continued investment in infrastructure from broadband providers, supported by Government funding to bring faster broadband to harder to reach areas. By providing the best possible information, Ofcom can help people understand the broadband services available to them and what they can do to get the most from their broadband.”

8 pm to 10 pm peak hour traffic assessment showed Sky’s up-to 38Mbps service suffered the least , with 96% of testing panellists receiving 90% or more of their connection’s maximum speed. EE’s up-to 38Mbps package was the worst peak time performer with only 7% getting 90% or more of the maximum speed during those hours.

Virgin’s up-to 50Mbps service fared well during peak hours with 100% receiving 90% or more of the promised speeds, but it was a different story on the higher speed packages with 59% getting 90% or more on the 100Mbps offer, and 33% of those using the 152Mbps package.

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