The average broadband speed in the UK is now 18.7Mbps, with those in rural areas achieving an average of 13.6Mbps
The average broadband speed in the UK has increased by 5 per cent over the last 6 months to 18.7Mbps, as the gap between speeds in rural and urban areas narrows.
In its latest broadband speed report, the communications regulator Ofcom revealed that rural customers experienced a bigger increase in average broadband speeds than people in urban and suburban areas.
Rural customers received an average speed boost of 20 per cent to 13.6Mbps in the six months to May 2014, while those in urban and suburban areas saw their speeds increase by 5 per cent to 33.4Mbps and 22.9Mbps respectively.
Ofcom said that, while findings should be treated as indicative only, the data suggests that the gap between speeds in rural and urban areas could be narrowing, thanks to the increased availability and take-up of fibre broadband services in rural areas.
“I’m delighted to say that these findings, whilst fantastic news, are not unexpected,” said Digital Economy minister Ed Vaizey.
“Government has taken access to superfast broadband speeds to more than 1 million homes and businesses across the UK through our nationwide rollout, which has been instrumental in average speeds increasing by more than 3 and a half times since May 2010.”
The report also found that the average broadband speed delivered by cable services is now faster than that of fibre.
In the six months to May 2014, average speeds for fibre connections decreased by 2 per cent to 42Mbps. Conversely, cable broadband services – primarily provided by Virgin Media in the UK – increased by 8 per cent to 43.3Mbps.
Ofcom said this was mainly due to cable customers upgrading to faster services, while more fibre customers opted for the lower speed ‘up to’ 38Mbps connections.
Meanwhile, average speeds for ADSL connections – the most common type of broadband – increased by 10 per cent to 7.4Mbps. This is potentially a result of broadband infrastructure improvements, such as capacity upgrades, according to Ofcom.
“We’re delighted to be officially rated the UK’s fastest broadband provider six years in a row,” said Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media’s chief executive officer.
“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.”
Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 152Mbps cable service, which launched in February 2014, achieved the fastest download speed, averaging 141.9Mbps. This was followed by BT’s ‘up to’ 76Mbps fibre package, which delivered an average download speed of 62Mbps.
Ofcom’s research also examined upload speeds, which are important to those consumers wishing to share large files or use real-time video communications. The research found that Plusnet’s ‘up to’ 76Mbps package delivered the fastest average upload speeds at 17.1Mbps.
EE’s ‘up to’ 38 Mbps package experienced the greatest degradation in speeds during peak times. The average speed for this type of connection between 8pm and 10pm was 27.2Mbps – 76 per cent of the maximum speed (35.8Mbps).
In comparison, customers on Sky’s ‘up to’ 38Mbps package saw the least degradation in average speeds. Speeds achieved during evening peak-time (34.5Mbps) were 96 per cent of the average maximum speed (35.9Mbps).