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UK Cable Broadband “Now Faster Than Fibre”, Says Ofcom

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Watchdog survey also finds average UK broadband speed rose over last six months, with Virgin Media offering the fastest service

The average broadband speed delivered by cable services is now faster than that of fibre, according to research by industry watchdog Ofcom.

The organisation found that in the six months to May 2014, the average speed delivered by cable broadband reached 43.3Mbit/s as customers increasingly upgraded to faster services, overtaking the average speed for fibre connections for the first time (42.0Mbit/s).

British consumers are also increasingly adopting “superfast” broadband connections (those with a headline speed of 30Mbit/s and above), the study found, with 28 percent of households enjoying such speeds.

Speed - Olivier Le MoalFast and furious

Virgin Media’s superfast cable service, which launched in February and offers speeds of ‘up to’ 152Mbit/s, was found to have achieved the fastest download speed over a 24 hour period, averaging 141.9Mbit/s.

“We’re delighted to be officially rated the UK’s fastest broadband provider six years in a row,” said Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO. “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 was followed by BT’s ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s fibre package, which delivered an average download speed of 62.0Mbit/s. The fastest upload speed recorded was Plusnet’s “up to” 76Mbit/s package, at 17.1Mbit/s on average.

Overall, the average superfast speed remained stable at 47Mbit/s.

The research also shows that the average actual UK broadband speed increased by 5 percent (0.9Mbit/s) over the last six months to reach 18.7Mbit/s. And although customers in rural areas continued to suffer slower speeds than those in urban areas, the gap between the two could well be narrowing, as in the six months to May 2014, rural customers experienced a bigger increase in average broadband speeds (up by 20 percent to 13.6Mbit/s) than people in urban and suburban areas (up by 5 percent to 33.4Mbit/s and 22.9Mbit/s respectively).

The findings, which include over 2.7bn separate test results from 2,175 homes, come from Ofcom’s eleventh report measuring the actual residential broadband speeds experienced across the UK. It is intended to help consumers understand the performance of different broadband technologies and internet service providers’ packages, and make more informed purchasing decisions.

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