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One in four UK homes now 'superfast'

One in four UK residential fixed broadband connections is ‘superfast’, according to research by Ofcom.

The proportion of superfast connections – those offering headline speeds of 30Mbit/s or more – has risen from five per cent in November 2011 to 25 per cent in November 2013, the regulator says. The average superfast connection speed has also continued to rise, reaching 47.0Mbit/s by November 2013 – an increase of 47 per cent, or 15.1Mbit/s since May 2010.

These are some of the findings from Ofcom’s tenth report measuring consumers’ actual broadband connection speeds, as opposed to headline advertised speeds. As well as looking at superfast broadband, the report considers ADSL broadband, which accounts for 69 per cent of UK residential broadband connections.

The report reveals that at 17.8Mbit/s, the average actual fixed-line residential broadband speed in the UK is almost five times faster than it was five years ago when Ofcom first began publishing the data (up from 3.6Mbit/s in November 2008).

While the growth in average speeds show that investment in broadband technology is delivering benefits for most consumers, the UK picture is uneven. A significant number of households, especially those in rural areas, can experience considerably slower speeds.

Ofcom’s indicative analysis also suggests that:
    •    The average urban download speed in November 2013 was 31.9Mbit/s, a 21 per cent increase since May 2013;
    •    The average suburban download speed in November 2013 was 21.8Mbit/s, a 22 per cent increase since May 2013.
    •    The research also suggests that average speeds in rural areas increased from 9.9Mbit/s to 11.3Mbit/s between May and November 2013. The sizes of the rural samples from which these averages were taken, however, are not large enough for the change to be deemed statistically significant. As such, the figures should be treated as indicative only.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: 'The growth in superfast broadband and the rise in average speeds is testament to the investment in the sector. But the benefits are not shared evenly across the UK. There is more work needed to deliver wider availability of broadband and superfast broadband, particularly in rural communities but also in some locations within cities to enable wider access to fast internet.’

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