The average broadband speed in the UK has reached 22.8Mbps as a third of all internet connections are now 30Mbps or higher. However, upload speeds continue to lag behind with an average that still fails to pass 3Mbps.
The figures were revealed by Ofcom, which said that the rise to 22.8Mbps from 18.7Mbps is the biggest single increase in speeds over a six-month period since the regulator began measuring speeds in 2010.
The increase in the average is being led by services over 30Mbps, which now account for 32 percent of all broadband connections (see table below). Most people with such services receive an average speed of 50.4Mbps.
However, there remains a distinct risk that those in rural and suburban areas are being left behind as speeds increase.
Ofcom said that, while the average download speed in urban areas rose 21 percent over the six months to November 2014, there was no “statistically significant change” for rural or suburban areas, as shown by the table below.
Steve Unger, acting Ofcom chief executive, acknowledged that it is important not to get carried away with the rising average speed and to focus on the efforts required to give everyone a quality broadband service.
“The UK has seen significant investment in superfast broadband, and millions of households are now benefitting from faster speeds and more choice. But there’s still more to be done to ensure that everyone can share in those benefits," he said.
“It’s encouraging to see continued investment in infrastructure from broadband providers, supported by government funding, to bring faster broadband to harder to reach areas."
The government claimed recently that an additional two million premises are now served by superfast services as a result of funding provided to BT as part of the Broadband Delivery UK framework.
BT Openreach CEO Joe Garner said he was pleased to see the improvements in downloads, much of which has been delivered by the organisation's rollouts. “We are pleased to see the UK continues to forge ahead on broadband," he said.
Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge, was equally bullish, especially as Virgin once again secured top spot on the list for high speeds.
“The good news for Britain is we’re bringing lightning fast broadband to four million more homes and businesses with our £3 billion investment."
Away from the focus on download speeds, the average upload speed for broadband services remains at just 2.9Mbps, an increase of 0.5Mbps from May to November 2014.
The only type of service that delivers upload speeds above this are packages of 30Mbps and over, and anything else fails to break even the 1Mbps threshold, as the table below shows.
V3 has covered these poor upload speeds before, but the government and wider telecoms industry are seemingly unmoved by the problem.
This is despite cloud services and social and video sites allowing consumers and business users to send more data to the web than ever before.
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