UK network upgrades leading to faster broadband
Wednesday 15th August 2012, by Harry Wallis
Upgrades to the network infrastructure of broadband providers in the UK have led to faster speeds, research shows.
Average residential broadband speeds have now reached 9Mbps as a result of the move to superfast services, marking a substantial increase from the 3.6Mbps speed that was recorded in November 2008, according to a study from Ofcom.
New packages such as Virgin Media's 60Mbps and BT's Infinity 2 76Mbps services have contributed to the rise, with the research suggesting that consumer migration to faster services is picking up momentum.
Although some consumers are actively choosing to upgrade to superfast broadband deals, others are benefitting from improved speeds because of upgrades by their service providers.
Ofcom's figures have illustrated the rise, as more than two-thirds of UK fixed-line residential broadband users (68 per cent) subscribed to deals boasting speeds "up to" 10Mbps in May 2012, representing a rise from the 48 per cent figure recorded a year earlier.
The proportion of superfast services has also risen, with eight per cent of residential broadband connections in May 2012 existing as superfast, compared to five per cent six months earlier.
Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: "Our research shows that the move to faster broadband services is gathering momentum. Consumers are benefitting from network upgrades and the launch of new superfast packages, giving them faster speeds and greater choice.
"We are continuing to work with the advertising code-writing bodies and ISPs to ensure that speeds advertised reflect actual speeds experienced, to allow consumers the ability to make informed decisions when shopping around to find the most suitable package."
Last month, Ofcom's Communications Market Report discovered that Northern Ireland has the highest availability of superfast broadband in Britain.
The services are accessible to roughly 94 per cent of premises, indicating a rise from the overall UK figure of 60 per cent.
As well as this, the study found that more than one-third (35 per cent) of adults in Northern Ireland are using their smartphones to use the internet.