Broadband speeds are up again. From rural areas to cities everyone can now browse the web and download content faster than ever. Well, 0.9Mbps faster, after Ofcom data showed the average broadband speed in the UK is up to 18.9Mbps.
This is undoubtedly good news, although many millions more will still be waiting to join life in the fast lane of the information superhighway, as superfast rollouts continue. Still, progress has been made; the UK average broadband download speed was a paltry 3.6Mbps in November 2008, when Ofcom first started taking measurements.
So, download speeds are up and work continues to bring services to as many as possible, a job well done for all involved. Perhaps, but not so fast.
Upload speeds are in a far less healthy state and progress has been poor. In the first report that looked at data from 2008, the average broadband upload speed was a pathetic 0.42Mbps.
This is worth considering: in 2008, when Facebook was already well established and the iPhone was making its mark on the telecoms landscape, the average household would have struggled to upload photos to send in an email, or put files into a cloud-based system.
Now, six years later, after huge investments in the UK's broadband's infrastructure the average upload speed has risen to ... 2.4Mbps. This may be a five-fold improvement but it's still hopelessly slow.
Last year V3 noted with some alarm that the average speed was just 1.8Mbps. It had risen to 2.3Mbps by April this year and has now risen by a measly 0.1Mbps. All-in-all, not very impressive.
This is worrying. In 2008 uploading data was an important part of the web, but it is now fundamental. There is rarely a popular site out there that isn't now used for sending content to the web - Skype, FaceTime, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Twitter and the rest.
For home workers and freelancers who need to send files such as large videos, design drawings, music clips or images, to contacts and the cloud, these low speeds are crippling.
Ofcom's report notes that uploading content is becoming more commonplace, but does little to acknowledge the problems the low average speeds are causing.
"Broadband advertising tends to focus on download speeds. However, upload speeds are important for a subset of the population, such as those sharing large files and using real-time two-way video communications," it said.
V3 did ask Ofcom for a comment on these figures and whether it is being worked on, but had received no reply at the time of publication. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Internet Services Providers Association were also contacted.
No doubt the focus in the near-future will remain on download speeds and this is unquestionably a vital part of the digital backbone of the UK, but uploads must not be ignored.
With an election round the corner, V3 would like to see the political parties show some tech nous and make noises about improving upload speeds to help the digital economy thrive, rather than being fixated with downloads and ever-increasing headline speeds.
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