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Ofcom: UK average download speed climbs to 22.8Mbps

One in three British broadband connections are now delivering download speeds of 30Mbps according to Ofcom. 

Thanks to the expansion of BT’s Openreach and Virgin Media’s cable network, more families and firms can get broadband services delivering download speeds of 30Mbps and above. 

BT’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based services provide top download speeds of 38Mbps and 76Mbps, whereas Virgin Media’s entry level service gives customers speeds of up to 50Mbps

Despite increased availability of superfast services, the telecoms regulator’s latest report also pegs the UK’s average download speed at 22.8Mbps, below what Ofcom and the EU define as superfast (30Mbps). Average upload speeds have also jumped up to 2.9Mbps, up from 2.4Mbps from the previous report

The survey showed that in the six months prior to November 2014 (when Ofcom’s survey took place), average speeds increased by 21 per cent in urban areas, but there was no significant increase in rural areas. 

Since then, BT has continued to expand its presence in rural and suburban areas. This is thanks in part to its own commercial investment and BDUK projects like Superfast Cymru, which has seen 300Mbps broadband delivered to Wales’s most remote village

Virgin Media has too recently announced plans to greatly expand its network, which should in theory see the UK’s average speeds climb even higher – although it should be noted that superfast broadband is expensive and not everyone will be able to afford it immediately. 

Ofcom has handed Virgin Media the crown for fastest kid in town again, with its 152Mbps package outstripping everything else surveyed in terms of speed. 

Tom Mockridge, chief executive officer at Virgin Media said: “This is the 12th consecutive time Virgin Media has been proven to be the UK’s fastest broadband provider.

“Our customers can take comfort from the fact that they are on the best service there is. The good news for Britain is we’re bringing lightning fast broadband to four million more homes and businesses with our £3 billion investment – the future of the UK’s digital infrastructure has never looked better.” 

Ofcom collected data from a panel of 1,992 residential broadband users across the UK. While this survey provides a decent snapshot for what most Brits can expect to get in their street, Ofcom has yet to include Hyperoptic, CityFibre, Gigaclear and B4RN data in its surveys. 

All of these ISPs offer punters symmetrical gigabit (1,00Mbps) broadband, but unfortunately, their reach is limited. Hyperoptic is available to around 100,000 customers now while B4RN’s network recently passed the 800 mark

If we’re to nitpick, Mockridge’s claim is a little off. But seeing as Virgin Media’s network is within reach of over 12 million premises, it’s accurate to say that its cable services are the fastest available to the great majority of folks. For now. 

You can check the speed of your broadband connection, to see if you are in line with OFCOM’s average, with our broadband speed test tool.

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