The average speed of UK broadband connections has dropped slightly for the first time this year, according to comparison site Broadband.co.uk.
The company's monitoring service has seen an uninterrupted rise in average speeds since December 2008, and the news comes just after communications watchdog Ofcom slammed service providers over advertised speed claims which it described as " misleading".
"The drop may be small at around 0.1Mbit/s, but it is still a concern for the majority of broadband users as the drop would have been even steeper if it wasn't for the exceptional performance put in by Virgin Media," said Edd Dawson, editor of Broadband.co.uk.
Virgin Media's average speed jumped by around 0.6Mbit/s to 6.73Mbit/s, according to Dawson, undoubtedly helped by the continued uptake of its high-speed 50Mbit/s fibre optic service.
"Virgin Media's exceptional performance has saved the UK average from an even steeper drop," he said.
O2 and its associated Be internet service came in second with an average speed of 5.31Mbit/s, followed by Orange in third place at 3.41Mbit/s. The average for July across all providers monitored was 4.26Mbit/s.
"It was encouraging to see the results of the Ofcom survey mirroring the accuracy of Broadband.co.uk's previously published reports showing the average speed increasing from 3.6Mbit/s in January to 4.1Mbit/s in April 2009," added Dawson.
Despite the marginal dip, the figure remains more than double the speed set out in the Digital Britain Report (PDF), which aims to see every household in the UK able to access at least a 2Mbit/s connection.
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