15 Aug 2012
Network upgrades boost average broadband speeds, says Ofcom
UK consumers are achieving average residential broadband speeds of 9.0Mbit/s, driven by the move to new ‘superfast’ services, Ofcom research reveals.
The latest research into fixed-line residential broadband speeds shows that, in May 2012, the average actual UK speed was 9.0Mbit/s, which is 2½ times faster than the average speed of 3.6Mbit/s recorded in November 2008 when Ofcom first began its speeds research.
Ofcom’s research now includes some new ‘superfast’ packages, including Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 60Mbit/s service and BT’s Infinity 2 ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s service, the launches of which have contributed to the rise in average speeds.
The continuing trend of increasing speeds recorded in the research confirms that consumer migration to faster services is gathering momentum.
While some consumers actively choose to upgrade to superfast broadband packages to achieve higher speeds, many are benefitting from improved speeds as a result of internet service providers’ (ISPs’) network upgrades, at little or no additional cost to consumers.
In May 2012, over two-thirds of UK fixed-line residential broadband users (68%) were on packages with advertised speeds above ‘up to’ 10Mbit/s, an increase from 48% in May 2011.
The proportion of broadband connections which are superfast (i.e. they have an advertised speed of ‘up to’ 30Mbit/s or above) has increased in recent months with the launch of new superfast packages. By May 2012, 8% of residential broadband connections were superfast, compared with 5% six months previously and 2% in May 2011.
Residential superfast broadband connections are also getting faster, with average speeds increasing from 35.5Mbit/s in November 2011 to 35.8Mbit/s in May 2012.
Of the different types of broadband technologies, Ofcom’s research found that cable broadband connections generated the greatest increases in average speed in the six months to May 2012 – up by 3.6Mbit/s (26%) to 17.9Mbit/s.
Over the same period, average speeds delivered by ADSL broadband – a technology that delivers broadband over copper wires – increased by 10%, from 5.3Mbit/s to 5.9Mbit/s.
Average actual speeds recorded for fibre to the street cabinet (FTTC) connections, however, fell by 12% (from 36.0MBit/s to 31.6Mbit/s) in the six months to May 2012.
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