Average UK speeds rise thanks to superfast broadband, but gap between urban and rural widens
The average residential broadband connection speed has risen by 22 percent (2.7Mbps) during the last six months to 14.7Mbps thanks to the doubling of cable speeds and the increased popularity of fibre packages, says Ofcom.
Speeds have more than quadrupled since Ofcom first started publishing performance data in November 2012, while they have risen by 64 Mbps in the past year.
“With the average household now owning more than three types of internet-connected devices, consumers are demanding more than ever from their broadband service,”said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director. “Internet providers have responded by upgrading customers to higher speed services and launching new superfast packages.”
The regulator says 86 percenr of households now have up to 10Mbps as Virgin Media upgraded its network to double the speeds of its cable customers. The average speed of a cable connection has nearly doubled in the past 12 months from 18Mbps to 37.9Mbps.
This in turn has boosted the number of homes that receive superfast broadband of 30Mbps or above to 19 percent from 14 percent in November 2012 and 8.5 percent in May 2012. BT currently has 1.3 million fibre connections and average speeds have increased by 38 percent to 43.6Mbps.
Last month, BT announced it had added 197,000 new and existing customers to its fibre network, while Virgin Media has 1.5 million customers receiving 30Mbps or above.
The gap between urban and rural broadband speeds is widening, despite rural broadband increasing at a faster rate than anywhere else. Performance has improved by 69.5 percent in the past year to 9.9Mbps, however this still trails speeds in urban areas which now average at 26.4Mbps.
Ofcom says it expects even bigger disparities in the short term, but the gap will narrow as superfast broadband coverage increases thanks to government initiatives such as the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and the commercial rollout of 4G.
“We are yet to see the full effect of Government measures to improve broadband availability in rural areas, which should also help to boost speeds,” added Pollack. “We also anticipate 4G mobile to have a positive effect on mobile broadband availability across the UK.”
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