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Broadband home speeds across the UK have seen a marked improvement, according to an annual survey by communications watchdog, Ofcom.

The report shows that average fixed-line broadband download speeds rose by 28% over the year.  Upload speeds improved by 44% to 6.2 mbps. Typical households now consume 190 gigabytes of data a month. This is, in large part, due to the use of Netflix and other streamed TV services. But rural consumers still lag behind.

Ofcom said:

  • in urban areas, 59% of connections delivered average speeds topping 30 Mbps over the 20:00-22:00 peak-time period – meeting the watchdog’s definition of “superfast” – while 17% were under 10 Mbps.
  • but in rural areas, only 23% of connections surpassed 30 Mbps over the same hours, while 53% were under 10 Mbps.

The regulator said the primary reasons for the discrepancy were less availability and reduced take-up. Later this month, internet service providers will have to quote average peak-time speeds in their adverts rather than the “up to” figures that have been more common.

Time to Switch?

Ofcom has also broken down its results by nation. Revealing that England had the fastest speeds while Wales had the slowest.

Nation                             Average download speed
England                            47.8 Mbps
Scotland                           43.6 Mbps
Northern Ireland           39.2 Mbps
Wales                                33.4 Mbps

The watchdog highlighted that many households could improve their speeds at no extra cost by asking to be switched to fibre where it was available.

It noted that 93% of UK properties now had access to superfast services. But said that about 40% still subscribed to a copper-based “standard” ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) package.

The report also highlighted that Virgin Media – the UK’s biggest cable provider – had made improvements, particularly over the peak evening period.

Ofcom ascribed this to an investment in additional network capacity, although the Thinkbroadband news site noted that a critical BBC Watchdog investigation was likely to have spurred matters on.

If you need help with your broadband, call our team on 0330 4005465.

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