Broadband Speeds Rise For British Homes

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More speed vicar? Average broadband speeds rise by nearly 20 percent in the last year, Ofcom says

Households in the United Kingdom are benefiting from a significant increase in average broadband speeds, the latest data from Ofcom shows.

The UK communications regulator revealed that the average broadband speeds for UK houses has risen by nearly 20 percent in the past year, passing the 50Mbps mark to a staggering 54Mbps.

But that may of small comfort to some. Last December research from uSwitch.com found that the average broadband download speed in the UK was 46.2Mbps. However it also found that a quarter (26.3 percent) of British homes struggle to achieve the bare minimum broadband speed of less than 10Mbps.

slow internet

Speed improvements

Indeed, the UK research found that one in eight households (13.3 percent) crawl along at speeds below 5Mbps, more than half below the 10Mbps minimum speed that Ofcom states that a modern household requires nowadays.

The location with the slowest Internet speeds was a small village near Wigan, when Greenmeadows Park in Bamfurlong, Gloucestershire was named as the slowest street for broadband with an average download speed of just 0.14Mbps.

Ofcom’s figures paint a slightly rosier picture however, after its research used data collected by its research partner SamKnows, from a volunteer panel of 4,918 UK residential broadband users.

There was no word on where these test households were located and if it involved those living in rural areas.

But the fact that the average speed for households is 54.2 Mbps will be welcomed by many.

The average upload speed, which is important for people working from home or posting videos, also increased up 15 percent to 7.2 Mbps.

Ofcom said that both download and upload speeds have more than doubled in the last five years.

The regulator said that the fastest speeds recorded in the research were from Virgin Media’s VIVID 350 cable package, with average peak time speeds hitting 360.2 Mbps.

BT’s 300 Mbps full-fibre (fibre to the premise or FTTP) package was second fastest, with an average peak time speed of 300.6 Mbps.

This package was said to be top for average peak time upload speeds at 48.8 Mbps.

And it is clear that with better bandwidth, people increasingly utilise more demanding online services.

Ofcom said that people using superfast connections or faster were able to stream Netflix films or shows in ultra-high definition (UHD) without buffering in almost every case.

But it said that only one-in-10 homes with an old school copper broadband connection are able to stream their favourite shows in UHD.

Ofcom said its Boost Your Broadband campaign allows people to easily check what broadband is available in their area.

Full fibre

And Ofcom said that it has introduced a package of measures to support investment in full fibre or FTTP connections.

Essentially it wants to make it quicker and easier for companies to build their networks.

“Broadband comes in lots of flavours these days: copper, superfast, cable and full fibre,” said Yih-Choung Teh, Strategy and Research Group Director at Ofcom. “Which kind you choose can really affect your online experience.”

“So we’re encouraging people to visit our dedicated Boost Your Broadband website, to find out how they could get faster broadband, for the same or less than they pay now.”

In July 2018, the government pledged that the UK would enjoy “full fibre broadband coverage across all of the UK by 2033.”

The ambitious plan sees the insistence of full fibre broadband for all new build homes, and a new priority to connect hard-to-reach rural areas.

That move came after the Chancellor Philip Hammond in May 2018 outlined his plan to invest in infrastructure to bolster the post Brexit economy in the years ahead. He pledged then to ensure that most homes and businesses (15 million premises) would by 2025 enjoy the benefits of a “full-fibre” connection.

BT Openreach has already planned to reach 12 million homes by the end of the decade using a combination of fibre to the premise (FTTP) and G.Fast, which speeds up copper connections.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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