The UK’s average broadband speed is now almost 15Mbps. Yes you read that right. No doubt many readers will splutter on their coffee, tea or something stronger as they read that and run a quick speed test to see if they can hit double figures, let alone the 14.7Mbps download speed they should enjoy.
However, Ofcom’s data, from 736 million tests carried out in May seems fairly hefty, and enough to form a good impression of the UK market.
While such numbers garner the headlines, and demonstrate an impressive fourfold improvement since November 2011 when it was a paltry 3.6Mbps, another figure in the release also caught the eye for the wrong reasons: the average upload speed is 1.8Mbps. Yes, you also read that right.
The average upload speed is almost ten times lower than the average download speed, and while downloads are increasing notably each time Ofcom carries out its research, the average upload speed had increased by just 0.4Mbps since the last data was collected in November 2012.
This is highly disappointing, and a tad worrying, as many people are having to suffer upload speeds that render the use of many web services almost impossible. This matters, because putting content online is central to many people’s use of the web.
Think of batch uploading images to Facebook, videos to YouTube, documents to cloud services like Dropbox, and corporate services likes Yammer or Box, which are integral to many people’s working lives.
It’s all very well and good working from home if you can download key files and presentations in the blink of an eye, but once you’ve made amendments or want to upload your own contribution, sitting there watching it slowly crawl online is frustrating.
Focusing on download speeds is the right course of action, as that's where the greater need is for the wider benefits of the web. But in future, once coverage is available for all at high speed, urgent attention must be given to uploads if we're to be a nation that can engage with the web in both directions.
By V3’s Dan Worth, who loves a speedy upload
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