Britain's broadband speeds increasing - Virgin Media the fastest

An Ofcom report has found that average broadband speeds in the UK have risen by 10 per cent since the end of 2010. The average speed nationally was measured at 6.2Mbit/s in November/December last year, but is now 6.8Mbit/s (as of May 2011).

In addition, 47 per cent of UK residential broadband users are now on packages over 10Mbit/s - a rise of 5 per cent since late 2010. However, the gap between the average advertised speeds (15Mbit/s) and actual average speeds has grown, showing that while ISPs are claiming greater numbers, they are matching those claims even less than before.

However, some of those providers have been found to be better than others, especially on superfast, fibre optically-delivered broadband. Ofcom has discovered that the average speed on Virgin Media's 30Mbit/s service, for example, is actually 31Mbit/s. And its 50Mbit/s service supplies only a slight dip on average, testing at 48Mbit/s.

BT's Infinity service, which is claimed at 40Mbit/s, offers average speeds of 34Mbit/s.

Copper ADSL broadband doesn't fare so well in comparison, with speeds dropping off dramatically the further a user is from their local exchange. The average download speeds for ADSL services claimed as "up to" 20Mbit/s and 24Mbit/s was more realistically 6.6Mbit/s. And 37 per cent of consumers on those packages even received 4Mbit/s less.

The results in full (based on advertised speeds):

"Up to" 8Mbit/s

BT

Over 24 hours: 4.0 to 4.3Mbit/s

8am to 10pm: 3.4 to 4.0Mbit/s

Plusnet

Over 24 hours: 3.7 to 4.3Mbit/s

8am to 10pm: 3.2 to 4.0Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 10Mbit/s

Virgin Media

Over 24 hours: 9.3 to 9.6Mbit/s

8am to 10pm: 9.0 to 9.5Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 20Mbit/s 

BT

Over 24 hours: 7.3 to 8.9Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 7.3 to 9.1Mbit/s

Orange

Over 24 hours: 6.0 to 8.2Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 6.6 to 7.6Mbit/s

Plusnet

Over 24 hours: 6.7 to 8.9Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 6.6 to 8.4Mbit/s

Sky

Over 24 hours: 7.1 to 8.0Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 7.2 to 8.1Mbit/s

Virgin Media

Over 24 hours: 17.6 to 18.7Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 16.4 to 18.1Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 20/24Mbit/s 

O2/Be

Over 24 hours: 9.6 to 11.7Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 10.0 to 11.5Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 24Mbit/s

Karoo

Over 24 hours: 5.6 to 7.9Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 5.5 to 7.3Mbit/s

TalkTalk 'up to' 24Mbit/s 

Over 24 hours: 7.7 to 8.6Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 7.0 to 8.5Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 30Mbit/s 

Virgin Media

Over 24 hours: 30.7 to 31.3Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 30.1 to 30.9Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 40Mbit/s

BT

Over 24 hours: 33.1 to 34.9Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 32.3 to 34.1Mbit/s

 

"Up to" 50Mbit/s

Virgin Media

Over 24 hours: 47.7 to 49.0Mbit/s 

8am to 10pm: 46.3 to 48.4Mbit/s

 

Ofcom has also published an interactive map of the UK, showing which areas have the best broadband coverage and which the worst. You can find it at maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband.

Surprised by the results? Or are you one of those who receives above average speeds? Let us know in the comments below...