Average UK broadband speed continues to rise: Ofcom

The average residential UK broadband speed reached 14.7Mbit/s in May 2013, Ofcom research reveals (view press release).

Ofcom’s latest report into fixed-line residential broadband speeds shows that the average actual UK speed has risen by 22% (2.7Mbit/s) in the six months to May 2013, and 64% (5.7Mbit/s) in the year since May 2012.

The report also shows that the average broadband speed has more than quadrupled since Ofcom first began publishing speeds data in November 2008 – an increase of 309% (or 11.1Mbit/s).

Take-up of ‘superfast’ services and providers’ automatically upgrading customers on to faster broadband packages continued to drive the increase in the national average speed.

The proportion of broadband connections classed as superfast – that is, offering headline speeds of 30Mbit/s or more – is increasing. By May 2013, 19% of residential broadband connections were superfast, up from 14% in November 2012 and more than doubling from 8% over the course of the last year.

By May 2013, 86% of UK fixed-line residential broadband users were on packages with advertised speeds above ‘up to’ 10Mbit/s, up from 76% six months ago and 68% in May 2012.

The move to higher speeds is partly down to Virgin Media’s network upgrade to double the speeds of most of its cable broadband customers. As a result, the average speed on cable has nearly doubled over the last year from 18.0Mbit/s to 34.9Mbit/s.

Consumers are also choosing to migrate to faster fibre packages. BT reported that it had 1.3 million fibre broadband connections at the end of March 2013, up from around 550,000 a year earlier.4 In May 2013, the average fibre-based connection speed was 43.6Mbit/s, up by over a third (38%) over the year.

The report includes speeds measurements for three additional ISP packages – Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 120Mbit/s cable service and Plusnet’s ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s and ‘up to’ 38Mbit/s fibre-to-the-cabinet services. All average speeds are measured over a 24-hour period.

Of the 14 ISP packages included in the report, Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 120Mbit/s service achieved the fastest download speeds, an average of 112.6Mbit/s. The average download speed on Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 100Mbit/s was 88.8Mbit/s.

Of the other superfast packages included in the research, BT’s ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s service delivered average speeds of 62.1Mbit/s, while Plusnet’s ‘up to’ 76Mbit/s achieved average speeds of 61.0Mbit/s. Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 60Mbit/s package generated average speeds of 57.5Mbit’s.

Plusnet’s ‘up to’ 38Mbit/s package achieved average speeds of 33.7Mbit/s, compared with BT’s ‘up to’ 38Mbit/s service, which delivered 32.6Mbit/s on average. The average download speed on Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 30Mbit/s service was 30.0Mbit/s.

The research reveals that the average download speed of all superfast connections included in the report continued to increase, reaching 45.3Mbit/s in the six months to May 2013 (an increase of 0.7Mbit/s, or 2%).

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