Less haste, more speed

UK consumers receive an average broadband speed of 3.6Mbit/s, according to research released by Ofcom.


UK consumers receive an average broadband speed of 3.6Mbit/s, according to research released this week by Ofcom.


According to Ofcom, that is less than the average maximum possible speed of 4.3Mbit/s across the UK and significantly below advertised headline speeds.


Speeds are slowest between and on Sundays, when use of the internet is at its highest.


However, most consumers say they are reasonably happy with their broadband service – although speed is the most commonly cited cause of dissatisfaction.


Although 3.6Mbit/s is sufficient for many internet applications, including audio and standard definition video, over 60 per cent of UK consumers currently subscribe to packages promising speeds of up to 8Mbit/s.


The Ofcom research found that one in five of these subscribers actually receive an average speed of less than 2Mbit/s, while on average the actual speed consumers receive is 45 per cent of the advertised headline speed.


The research is claimed to be the most sophisticated and thorough study ever conducted into UK broadband speeds.


Around 7,000 tests were run through monitoring units connected to around 1,500 home broadband routers over a 30-day period.


The results also showed that, on average, consumers living in urban areas receive speeds 15 per cent faster than those in rural areas, largely because of distance.


Consumers in London received the fastest average speeds, with those in the north east of England, Wales and Scotland receiving, on average, the slowest speeds.


The research was conducted in association with broadband performance specialists SamKnows and market research company GfK Ltd.


The full broadband speed research document can be found here.