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(Pocket-lint) - Britain's broadband speeds are on the rise, the latest Ofcom report finds. The UK's average broadband speed is 17.8Mbps, a rise of over 3Mbps in just six months.

In the five years since Ofcom first began publishing data on the country's broadband speeds, the UK has grown from an average of 3.6Mbps in November 2008 to 17.8Mbps in November 2013. However, the independent communications regulator states that more needs to be done to address speed mismatches.

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Rural areas, for example, do not enjoy the same speeds as cities and other urban and suburban regions. The average urban download speed in November 2013 was 31.9Mbps and average suburban speed was 21.8Mbps. The average rural download speed though, was 11.3Mps.

Ofcom puts this down to a lack of connectivity for superfast broadband in those areas, having to rely on ADSL copper wire networks. When fibre optics cabling is concerned, speeds can be much faster.

Virgin Media comes out top amongst the internet service providers in that respect. While BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Sky and EE superfast packages offer speeds of between 61.6Mbps to 68Mbps over a 24 hour period on their up to 76Mbps services, Virgin Media is found to provide between 113.2Mbps to 116.7Mbps average speed over 24 hours on its highest package, advertised as up to 120Mbps.

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Ofcom demands that broadband operators can only advertise speeds when at least 10 per cent of the relevant customer base can achieve them. According to the study, many do.

Writing by Rik Henderson.